The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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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A portrait of Chancellor Joan Gabel.
Senate Council holds final meeting of semester, recaps recent events
By Anna Kuntz, Senior Staff Writer • May 14, 2024
Column | A thank you to student journalists
By Betul Tuncer, Editor-in-Chief • April 27, 2024

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A portrait of Chancellor Joan Gabel.
Senate Council holds final meeting of semester, recaps recent events
By Anna Kuntz, Senior Staff Writer • May 14, 2024
Column | A thank you to student journalists
By Betul Tuncer, Editor-in-Chief • April 27, 2024

Pitt women’s basketball comes up short against North Carolina

Senior+forward+Liatu+King+%282%29+and+graduate+student+forward+Jala+Jordan+%2814%29+jump+for+a+rebound+against+Florida+State+on+Feb.+8+at+the+Petersen+Events+Center.
Pamela Smith | Contributing Editor
Senior forward Liatu King (2) and graduate student forward Jala Jordan (14) jump for a rebound against Florida State on Feb. 8 at the Petersen Events Center.

Pitt women’s basketball (7-19, 1-12 ACC) came into Thursday’s game against North Carolina (16-9, 8-5 ACC) with the hopes of busting their five-game losing streak on the road at Carmichael Arena. Despite a close battle between the two teams, the Panthers failed to perform in all four quarters, losing 75-62. 

After a blowout loss to NC State where the Panthers shot only 29.7% from the field, they looked to end their losing streak down in Chapel Hill. 

Pitt opened the scoring with jumpers from first-year guard Aaryn Battle and junior guard Aislin Malcolm to give the Panthers a 4-0 lead. 

The Panthers kept it close in the first quarter, trailing only by three. Senior forward Liatu King pulled in eight rebounds during the first quarter to help hold the Tar Heels to just nine points after 10 minutes of play. 

The Panthers seemed to have an answer for every point that the Tar Heels put on the board. The two teams went back and forth in scoring, keeping the score within five points either way. 

The Tar Heels started to gain momentum with a 4-0 run after senior guard Alyssa Ustby broke away for a fast break layup, but Panthers head coach Tory Verdi responded with a quick timeout to stop them in their tracks. 

The Panthers have previously struggled offensively but found a few key players, including Battle, who tallied two big back-to-back threes to keep the Panthers up 29-27 at halftime. 

Ustby opened the second half strong, knocking down a quick jumper followed by a steal by senior forward Anya Poole. The Tar Heels went on a quick 11-3 run to open the third quarter. 

Senior guard Lexi Donarski sank three quick three-pointers to put the Panthers down 11 before Verdi called his first timeout of the half. 

Following the break, Pitt applied heavy defensive pressure, causing multiple turnovers allowing them to go on an 11–0 run to tie the game at 46. 

The Panthers struggled with foul trouble throughout the entire game. Sophomore guard Marley Washenitz, senior forward Jala Jordan and junior forward Rapuluchi Ayodele all ended the third quarter with four fouls, as the Panthers trailed the Tar Heels by three. 

Pitt struggled to score at the beginning of the fourth quarter, and North Carolina capitalized off of the Panthers’ three-minute scoring drought by extending its lead to seven. 

UNC’s junior forward Maria Gakdeng fouled out of the game with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, leaving the Tar Heels without their starting forward. The Panthers didn’t take advantage of this, however, quickly falling to a 10-0 UNC run. 

One of the main reasons for Pitt’s defeat was their inability to shut down the Tar Heels’ trio of Ustby, Donarski and senior guard Deja Kelly. The three totaled 51 out of UNC’s 75 points and ultimately led to the Panthers’ demise. 

Despite the Panthers’ increased shooting percentage from 29.7% against NC State to 48% against the Tar Heels, they were unable to pull off the upset. This loss marks their 19th of the season. 

The Panthers look to bounce back away against Clemson on Feb. 18 at 12 p.m.