Women’s basketball: Panthers lose at St. John’s

By Greg Trietley

After recent losses to No. 21 West Virginia and No. 18 Georgetown, the Pitt women’s basketball… After recent losses to No. 21 West Virginia and No. 18 Georgetown, the Pitt women’s basketball team wanted to turn things around fast to make some noise before the Big East tournament.

But despite a strong performance from Taneisha Harrison and a career day from freshman Ashlee Anderson, the Panthers suffered their third consecutive defeat Saturday, losing 72-63 to St. John’s at Carnesecca Arena in Queens, New York.

Senior forward Centhya “Coco” Hart had 13 points for the Red Storm (20-8, 9-6 Big East) in her final collegiate home game. She and fellow senior Sky Lindsay were honored before tipoff as part of St. John’s senior day festivities.

Harrison had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Panthers (13-15, 5-10 Big East), who dominated the boards early against the Red Storm. Pitt had 11 offensive rebounds in the first half, but it couldn’t convert any shots from the perimeter. An 0-for-8 start from 3-point range put the Panthers down at intermission, 28-24.

A quick 3-pointer out of the break from Shayla Scott snapped that cold streak, but the Red Storm pulled away with a 15-5 run that gave them a double-digit lead with under six minutes to play.

St. John’s took control by turning the tides on Pitt’s interior, as the Red Storm finished with 44 points in the paint. Forward Da’Shena Stevens had 15 points and eight rebounds.

The Red Storm also shut down Chelsea Cole, limiting her to two rebounds and two points in the second half after she grabbed 10 boards in the first.

Pitt freshman Anderson bounced back from a poor performance at Georgetown on Wednesday with a career-high 20 points against the Red Storm. Her five 3-pointers kept the Panthers in the game late.

Turnovers, though, hurt Pitt. The Panthers gave the ball away 19 times.

The loss for Pitt ends any hope of catching West Virginia in the standings and cements either a No. 11 or No. 12 seed in the Big East tournament, which begins on March 4 in Hartford, Conn. St. John’s, meanwhile, remains in the hunt for a first-round bye with the victory.

The Panthers will play their final regular season game, their senior day, Monday against Villanova at the Petersen Events Center. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.