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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
By Grace McNally, Staff Writer • June 13, 2024
Opinion | Long-distance friendships are possible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 6, 2024

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Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
By Grace McNally, Staff Writer • June 13, 2024
Opinion | Long-distance friendships are possible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 6, 2024

Takeaways | Men’s basketball dominates, women’s basketball displays passion

Sophomore+guard+Marley+Washenitz+%2811%29+breaks+past+a+defender+during+Tuesday+night%E2%80%99s+game+against+Yale+in+the+Petersen+Events+Center.
Ethan Shulman | Visual Editor
Sophomore guard Marley Washenitz (11) breaks past a defender during Tuesday night’s game against Yale in the Petersen Events Center.

This past week saw the opening games for both Pitt men’s and women’s basketball teams. This upcoming basketball season is one of the most anticipated seasons in recent memory for both teams. After a six-year drought, the men’s team was able to put together a magical season going 24-12 (14-6 ACC) and finished the season by winning two games in the men’s tournament. 

On the other hand, the women’s team ended Lance White’s historically bad tenure with an 11-19 (2-16 ACC) record. There is optimism for the women’s team this season, with the hiring of head coach Tory Verdi. Verdi was head coach at Eastern Michigan from 2012-2016 and finished last season winning the regular season A-10 championship with UMass. Verdi has a 201-153 career coaching record and is looking forward to bringing a change to Pitt women’s basketball.

On Nov. 6 the men’s team dominated NC A&T in a 100-52 victory. On Nov. 7 the women’s team scraped out a tough 79-74 win for Verdi’s first career Pitt win. Here are my takeaways from both contests. 

Men’s Takeaways

Carlton “Bub” Carrington

What a debut for the sixth-youngest player in Division I basketball this season. First-year guard Carlton “Bub” Carrington notched the fifth triple-double in program history — and Carrington is the first player to do so in his debut. Carrington showed his ability on both ends of the court, finishing with 18 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 58 percent shooting from the field. This is only the beginning for Carrington who has the potential to take this team far.

So Much Height and Length

Obviously, the Panthers weren’t playing the best competition, but their overwhelming size was noticeable. The Panthers starting lineup is listed as 6-foot-3 junior guard Ishmael Leggett, 6-foot-5 Carrington, 6-foot-7 redshirt junior forward Zack Austin, 6-foot-8 senior forward Blake Hinson and 6-foot-11 junior center Federiko Federiko. 

Coming off the bench, the Panthers have more length. Twin sophomore forwards Jorge and Guillermo Diaz Graham are listed at 6-foot-11 and 7-foot tall respectively. 6-foot-7 redshirt junior forward Will Jeffress and 6-foot-3 first-year guard Jaland Lowe add even more length to the Panthers bench unit.

This height showed in the stat sheet as the Panthers managed to collect five steals and nine blocks against the Aggies. This advantage will come in handy down the road when the Panthers play taller and stronger conference opponents.

Comfortability from returning players

With the incoming new talent, fans were curious to see if the team was going to mesh well like they did last season. However, fans need to pay more attention to the importance of having a year down in the system. 

The returning players all looked comfortable when they were on the court. Hinson didn’t seem to miss a beat as he opened the season with a logo three-pointer. Federiko showed new confidence as he was constantly looking to attack the rim of the Panthers’ pick-and-roll. Hinson finished with 13 points and eight rebounds while Federiko had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. 

Jorge Diaz Graham looked unstoppable coming off the bench and shooting a perfect 5-5. He finished with 13 points while his twin Guillermo finished with five points. Jeffress, who missed all last season with a foot injury, looked strong, scoring seven points and plucking three steals.

Women’s Takeaways

Paint beasts

The Panthers dominated the post scoring 40 points in the paint compared to Yale’s 24. The Panthers were constantly running the court and looking up to make passes that they converted into easy layups. They gobbled up missed offensive shots and quickly put them back up for second-chance points. 

Junior guard Bella Perkins and sophomore guard Marley Washenitz repeatedly drove downhill looking to draw double teams and dish out easy assists. With the three-point shot not falling in this game, the Panthers pulled out the win due to their ability to make easy shots in the paint.

Veteran experience

With almost a brand new team for Verdi, the Panthers will rely on their veteran experience to lead them to some victories. This was evident in the game against Yale. Perkins, a transfer from USC, led the Panthers in scoring with 21 points. Senior forward Liatu King continued to show that she is a consistent double-double threat finishing with 16 points and 14 rebounds. 

Junior forward Ayodele Rapuluchi was one point shy of a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds. Graduate transfer guard Jala Jordan had a solid debut for the Panthers, scoring 14 points and gathering five rebounds. Washenitz and sophomore guard Aislin Malcolm were the only underclassmen to record 20-plus minutes. This experience was evident down the stretch of the game as Jordan gave the Panthers an early fourth quarter lead, and Perkins knocked down a huge dagger three in the last minute.

Passion

This team features four returning players from last season. Verdi went out and secured five transfers — four with Power 5 experience — and three first-year recruits. This is an entirely new team this season, and fans can expect to see lapses in chemistry along the way. 

The one thing this team didn’t lack on the court was passion. The bench cheered after baskets, players were running to pick each other up off the floor and players were showing enthusiasm up and down the court. King showed so much passion that she earned a technical foul. This team has a newfound energy about them that will carry them throughout the season.

About the Contributor
Mason Carter, Staff Writer