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Pitt women’s basketball dominates Point Park in exhibition game 117-49

“Fun, fast and furious,” Pitt women’s basketball head coach Tory Verdi said.

That’s how Verdi described the Panthers following a 117-49 trouncing of Point Park in an exhibition game at the Petersen Events Center Monday night. Notable scorers from the game included King with 24 points, Perkins with 21 and Jordan with 25.

Following a season where the Panthers averaged 38.9 percent from the field, the Panthers looked to improve in that regard. Monday was a good start for the Panthers, as the team shot 67.1 percent from the field against the Pioneers.

Junior guard Liatu King, one of the four returning players to the roster, had a game to remember. She culminated a successful 16-point first half with eight more in the second half to lead her team to victory. 

One of the facets of Pitt’s success throughout the game came from junior transfer forward Rapuluchi Ayodele’s rebounding efforts. With three offensive boards and 11 on defense, Ayodele proved dominant on the glass and added two blocks to go along with them.

The Panthers jumped out to an early 17-2 lead by the media timeout led by a strong burst from sophomore guard Marley Washenitz.

At the conclusion of the first quarter, the Panthers had taken a monstrous lead, with the score jumping to 37-4. The Panthers proved absolutely dominant, as they went on a 32 point scoring run during the first quarter. 

One key that led to Pitt’s early success was their ability to force turnovers. The Panthers caused nine in the first quarter alone. They also converted those turnovers into 18 points. 

One noticeable difference between the team shown tonight versus the previous season was their ability to move the ball fluidly. 

In the second quarter Point Park found some rhythm, putting 17 points on the board. Graduate student Gillian Piccolino, who made two three-pointers and 3 free-throw shots for a total of nine points in the first half, led their scoring. 

On the other side of the court, the Panthers could not keep up the same momentum from the first quarter, scoring just 24 points. 

One aspect that regressed was the turnovers. The Panthers created 7 turnovers for 2 total points from turnovers in the second quarter. 

Nonetheless, the Panthers shot the ball well in the first half of the game, shooting 64.3 percent from the field. They also logged 14 assists, playing unselfish basketball that led to many easy baskets for the Panthers. 

The first quarter was a masterclass in domination and the second half continued the trend.

After a quarter where the Panthers let up quite a bit, they regained their footing as the third quarter went on. King continued her streak of success, notching 8 points for the third straight quarter.

Over the course of the game, especially in the third quarter, the Panthers found consistent looks in the midrange. More importantly, the Panthers looked confident doing so, boosting the team’s morale.

The Panthers ability to create shots was evident in the third, as they made 11 of 15 for a 73% shooting percentage. This included going 2-for-2 from three, with one from junior guard Bella Perkins and one from graduate student Jala Jordan.

The fourth quarter proved more of the same for the Panthers, as they continued to thrive. The Panthers were able to increase their lead as they finished the game 117-49.

The fourth provided an opportunity for some of the first-years to shine, as Jasmine Timmerson and Aaryn Battle both logged substantial minutes. 

Another beneficiary to Pitt’s rebounding was King, who finished with six total rebounds and two blocks.

Overall, Pitt’s defense shined bright under the lights for the first time this season. What stood out most, however, was Pitt’s ability to facilitate the basketball.

For the first time in a long time, the Panthers looked like a cohesive squad, passing the ball to each player and making plays all over the court. Whether it was a pass leading to an easy layup or a block deep in the paint, Pitt looked put together. This should prove important against stronger opponents, as the Panthers take on multiple top-25 teams in the conference schedule alone. 

Pitt women’s basketball officially starts their season at home Nov. 7 against Yale at 7 p.m.

Junior Guard Bella Perkins (10) goes for a layup during Monday night’s exhibition game against Point Park in the Petersen Events Center.
Freshman Guard Jasmine Timmerson (3) charges to the hoop during Monday night’s exhibition game against Point Park in the Petersen Events Center.
Freshman Forward Lauren Rust (13) dives for the ball alongside Point Park players during Monday night’s exhibition game in the Petersen Events Center.
Head Coach Tory Verdi talks with players during Monday night’s exhibition game against Point Park in the Petersen Events Center.
Junior Forward Rapuluchi Ayodele (15) high fives teammates while being introduced before Monday night’s exhibition game against Point Park in the Petersen Events Center.
Sophomore Guard Marley Washenitz (11) defends during Monday night’s exhibition game against Point Park in the Petersen Events Center.

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