Women’s basketball: Panthers lose in “Pink the Pete” game

By Kelly Flanigan

The Petersen Events Center was neither blue nor gold for Saturday’s contest. Instead, the… The Petersen Events Center was neither blue nor gold for Saturday’s contest. Instead, the women’s basketball team turned it pink.

In an effort to spread awareness about breast cancer and its victims and survivors, the second Backyard Brawl of the season occurred simultaneously with the fourth-annual “Pink the Pete” event. One dollar from every ticket sold will go to the Susan G. Komen For the Cure.

Ultimately, the No. 20 Mountaineers (21-6, 7-6 Big East) proved too much for the Panthers (13-13, 5-8 Big East) to handle and defeated Pitt by a score of 90-79.

“We haven’t given up 60 points in over a year. Now we have to work on our defense again. If we can manage to put it all together, I think we can be a real good team,” Mountaineer coach Mike Carey said in a press conference after the game.

Just two weeks prior to the contest, the Panthers defeated West Virginia on its home court in a 60-53 victory. Taneisha Harrison collected a career-high thirty points in that victory.

West Virginia entered Saturday’s contest riding a three-game losing streak, with their most recent loss coming to Louisville last Saturday.

In the overall series, Pitt trails 23-18, but the Panthers had won four of the last six meetings prior to Saturday’s matchup.

West Virginia nearly doubled Pitt’s shot attempts in the first half, totaling a ratio of 28 to only 17 shots.

The Mountaineers led 45-30 at the close of the first half, capitalizing on Pitt’s 10 first-half turnovers and their subsequent loss of momentum.

“I want to compliment West Virginia, they played really well. In the first half they really took it to us and it was really hard to recover,” Pitt head coach Agnus Berenato said in the press conference. “I felt like we dug ourselves into a hole we couldn’t climb out of.”

Pitt came out ready to play in the second half, though, as it went on a 5-0 run, regained some momentum and closed the West Virginia lead.

A quick three by Panther freshman Ashlee Anderson riled up the team as well as the crowd, and the Panthers found themselves down by only 10 points.

Pitt could not seem to close the gap much further for the remainder of the second half, though, as it was almost completely dominated by the Mountaineers.

Until Harrison stepped in- again. With four minutes remaining in the game, Harrison caught fire, seeming to take the game into her own hands and cut the lead to eight points. But that was as close as Pitt would come to the Mountaineer lead.

Averaging 14.8 points per game and 16.1 points in league action, she finished with 28 total points.

“[Taneisha] is playing really, really well for us right now,” Berenato said

Time after time, West Virginia had an answer.

To be exact, the Mountaineers had five answers, all of whom finished with double-digit points.

Led by Madina Ali with twenty-one points, West Virginia players Sarah Miles, Asya Bussie, Liz Repella and Vanessa House, also contributed 19, 16, 15 and 11 points, respectively.

“We haven’t had all five starters in double figures all year. That’s what we’ve got to do every game,” Carey said.

For the Panthers, Yasmin Fuller and Ashlee Anderson both contributed 10 points to the team’s effort, and Jania Sims finished with 11.

The Panthers are set to take on the Georgetown Hoyas on  Wednesday February 23 in Washington, DC. The tip-off is set for 7 p.m.