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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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Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
By James Carter, Staff Writer • June 20, 2024
Opinion | NHL needs to bring specialty jerseys back
By Jameson Keebler, Senior Staff Columnist • June 19, 2024
Opinion | Hold your elected officials morally responsible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 18, 2024

Pitt women’s basketball defeats Clemson to end losing streak

Pitt+women%E2%80%99s+basketball%E2%80%99s+bench+celebrates+during+its+game+against+Florida+State+at+the+Petersen+Events+Center+on+Feb.+8.
Pamela Smith | Contributing Editor
Pitt women’s basketball’s bench celebrates during its game against Florida State at the Petersen Events Center on Feb. 8.

Pitt women’s basketball (8-19, 2-12 ACC) defeated Clemson (11-15, 4-10 ACC) 72-57 on Sunday, continuing its dominance of Clemson’s home court as the Panthers notched their fifth win in the last seven contests at Clemson. The win ends the Panthers’ six-game losing streak.

Pitt senior forward Liatu King led the Panthers with 17 points, and junior guard Bella Perkins added 16 herself, including four three-pointers. Clemson graduate student guard Dayshanette Harris led the Tigers with 18 points, sophomore guard Ruby Whitehorn scored 14 and graduate student guard Amari Robinson added 10 points.

First-year guard Aaryn Battle got the Panthers going with a two-dribble pull-up jumper only eight seconds into the game.

The Tigers struggled to score, shooting 0-7 from the field to start the game. Harris put Clemson on the board with a made free-throw with 6:15 left in the first quarter.

Pitt sophomore guard Aislin Malcolm forced the Tigers to call a timeout after she swished a 3-pointer from the corner, giving Pitt the 7-1 lead with 5:48 left in the first quarter. Malcolm has seen a significantly increased role this season, going from averaging 9.6 minutes per game last season to 33.2 minutes per game this season. 

Harris, a 13.7 points per game scorer, tied up the contest at 10-10 with a pull-up jumper from the elbow with 3:17 left in the first quarter. Harris spent her last four years at Pitt with her points per game average decreasing every year but has seen a huge spike in production in her first year at Clemson.

Robinson, the leading scorer for the Tigers with 17.7 points per game, gave Clemson the lead with a three-pointer from the corner with 2:28 left in the first quarter. Robinson hit another soon after to give Clemson a 18-12 lead with 1:08 to go.

After starting slow, Clemson stepped on the gas to finish the first quarter leading 20-14. 

The Panthers have struggled with a turnover problem all year. Although they won the rebounding battle 11-7 in the first quarter, the Panthers had eight turnovers, leading to nine points for the Tigers.

King, the engine for the Panthers on both sides of the ball, had four rebounds in the first quarter but five turnovers and two offensive fouls. But King started the second quarter in a much better rhythm. 

King is tied for sixth in the NCAA with 15 double-doubles on the season, and despite not recording one today, the senior forward pulled in seven rebounds.

Panthers graduate student forward Jala Jordan hit a three-pointer from the top of the arch to tie the game up 26-26 with 5:17 left in the second quarter. Jordan, a match-up issue for most teams, is averaging a career-high 8.7 points per game for the Panthers.

Perkins shot the ball well in the second quarter hitting a fast-break three-pointer and hit another with 1:41 left in the second quarter. Perkins led the Panthers in scoring in the first half with eight points.

Robinson led the Tigers in the first half with eight points, and Harris showed her aggressiveness against her former team with four steals and four rebounds.

The Panthers ended the second quarter on a 15-2 run and led 35-28 going into the break. 

Turnovers were an issue for Clemson in the first half as well — the team recorded its 10th turnover of the game on their first possession coming out of the break. The Panthers recorded 13 points off of the Tigers’ turnovers in the first half.

King extended the lead 41-30 by beating the shot clock with a jumper with 7:30 left in the third quarter.

Malcolm has proven herself as a valuable scorer for the Panthers. Malcolm scored two layups on the fast break in the third quarter and finished with 13 points in the game.

Jordan hit another three-pointer with 6:00 left in the third quarter to extend the Panthers’ lead 46-33. 

Whitehorn made an effort to get more Panthers into foul trouble, driving into Jordan and Malcolm on consecutive possessions and drawing contact.

King ended the Panthers’ 3:30 scoring drought with a tipped ball to herself and converted the layup to keep Pitt’s lead at 48-37. However, King was in foul trouble early, causing Panthers’ head coach Tory Verdi to bring King to the bench with 1:00 left in the third quarter with four fouls.

The Tigers broke their 3:00 dry spell with a Whitehorn floater with 50 seconds left in the third quarter, but Pitt senior forward Gabby Hutcherson answered quickly on the other end with a layup. 

The Panthers took much better care of the ball after halftime, recording only two turnovers in the third quarter, while the Tigers continued to struggle with six turnovers leading to six Panthers points.

Pitt led 52-39 going into the fourth quarter.

For the second straight quarter, the Tigers turned the ball over on their first offense possession coming out of the break. 

Harris started the final quarter hot with a top-of-the-arch 3-pointer with 8:50 left and knocked down two free throws the very next possession. Harris hit another big three-pointer a few minutes later.

The Panthers missed three straight shots to start the fourth quarter, which proved enough for the Tigers to gain some confidence. Clemson went on a 7-0 run, forcing Verdi to call a timeout with 7:41 left and leading 52-46.

Right when the Clemson crowd was back into the action, Perkins decided she was tired of the noise.

Perkins pulled up from the logo and cashed a three-pointer, then drew an offensive foul on the other end to get the ball back in her hands. Perkins used the next possession to swish a one-dribble pull-up jumper to put the lead at 59-49 with 6:01 left.

Pitt sophomore guard Marley Washenitz drew her 30th charge of the season, which leads the Panthers, and then pushed the ball up the floor to find Perkins for another open three-pointer.

Whitehorn connected with a pair of jumpers to try and stop the bleeding, but turnovers continued to haunt the Tigers, as they ended the game with 21 turnovers.

After six free throws from King, Malcolm and Washenitz, the Panthers took their largest lead of the contest 70-53 with 2:21 left. The Panthers used the rest of the clock to cruise to victory.

The Panthers host the Wake Forest Demon Deacons this upcoming Thursday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m.

About the Contributor
Conor Hutchison, Staff Writer