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Panthers steamrolled by No. 4 Notre Dame despite Kiesel’s 27

By Dan Sostek / Assistant Sports Editor

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Pitt’s women’s basketball team could not contend with ferocious onslaught of No. 4 Notre Dame’s offense Thursday evening, falling to the Fighting Irish 87-59 in South Bend, Ind.

Even after falling into an early 14-4 deficit, the Panthers (18-10, 8-7 ACC) remained competitive early on in the game, as Brianna Kiesel scored nine of her team’s first 17 points to help Pitt decrease Notre Dame’s lead to 20-17.

That was the closest the Panthers would get to overcoming the Irish (27-2, 14-1 ACC) lead, however, as the hosts closed the half on a 20-10 run, entering halftime with an advantage of 40-27.

Notre Dame continued to thrive in the second half, building on its momentum to begin the period on a 21-5 run, essentially sealing the victory for the Fighting Irish within the first 10 minutes of the final period. Pitt did not diminish the deficit to anything lower than 23.

Despite the loss, the Panthers were once again led by senior guard Brianna Kiesel. 

After being named on Monday as one of 15 finalists for the prestigious Nancy Lieberman Award, which is given to the best point guard in the nation, Kiesel exploded for 27 points, three assists and two steals on the evening. She was the only Pitt player to score double figures.

No player on Pitt managed more than five rebounds — a mark set by graduate student Monica Wignot, who only managed six points while going 3-12 from the field. The Panthers went dry from beyond the arc, going an abysmal 2 of 16 on 3-point attempts for the contest.

The Fighting Irish received more balanced contributions, with five players — forwards Markisha Wright, Taya Reimer and Brianna Turner and guards Jewell Loyd and Lindsay Allen– reaching double figures. Loyd led the Irish with 16 points, chipping in five assists and three rebounds as well.

Notre Dame outplayed Pitt in nearly every facet of the game, outshooting the Panthers 62.7 percent to 36.4 percent, outrebounding them 41-21 and dishing out 10 more assists than their visitors.

Pitt will have to move past the blowout loss quickly, as the Panthers’ season finale is this Sunday against the Clemson Tigers. The contest will serve as senior day for Kiesel, Wignot and Cora McManus. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Petersen Events Center.

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Panthers steamrolled by No. 4 Notre Dame despite Kiesel’s 27