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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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Alex Borg poses for a photo with an accordion on Soldiers and Sailors Lawn.
Alex Borg: Her accordion anchors a ‘no-man Jimmy Buffett band’
By Patrick Swain, Culture Editor • April 12, 2024
Opinion | CPCs, get off our campus
By India Krug, Senior Staff Columnist • April 12, 2024

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Alex Borg poses for a photo with an accordion on Soldiers and Sailors Lawn.
Alex Borg: Her accordion anchors a ‘no-man Jimmy Buffett band’
By Patrick Swain, Culture Editor • April 12, 2024
Opinion | CPCs, get off our campus
By India Krug, Senior Staff Columnist • April 12, 2024

Pitt women’s basketball falls back into their old habits, fall to Wake Forest 65-50

First-year+guard+Aaryn+Battle+%281%29+dribbles+the+ball+during+Thursday+evening%E2%80%99s+game+against+Wake+Forest+in+the+Petersen+Events+Center.
Evan Fuccio | Staff Photographer
First-year guard Aaryn Battle (1) dribbles the ball during Thursday evening’s game against Wake Forest in the Petersen Events Center.

Pitt women’s basketball (8-20, 2-13 ACC) fell back into its old habits after picking up its second ACC win on Sunday. The Panthers struggled to score in the first half, which put them at a disadvantage in the second. The Panthers’ turnovers gave Wake Forest (5-22, 1-14 ACC) too many second chances, and they fell to the Demon Deacons on Thursday night 65-50.

Per usual, the Panthers’ lead scorer on Thursday night was senior forward Liatu King with 19 points. The next closest scorer was junior guard Bella Perkins, with eight. Offensively, Pitt went 14-for-24 in layups and had 16 turnovers. Head coach Tory Verdi knows how vital those forfeited possessions are.

“We had nine turnovers in the first period,” Verdi said. “Then we had two additional moving screens. That’s 11 possessions right there that we forfeited, and that’s frustrating as well.”

The Panthers’ faults started in the first quarter when the Demon Deacons won the first possession and points of the game.

Shortly after, Pitt sophomore guard Marley Washenitz found King open on her basket side. Two Demon Deacons tried to recover, but King fought her way through and sank the layup. King did it again with 5:54 to go, and the Panthers led 4-3.

The Panthers struggled like they have all year with putting points up on the board. They fell to a six-point deficit with 3:27 to go in the first. Pitt sophomore guard Aislin Malcolm chipped away at the deficit with back-to-back drives to the basket. She drew in two shooting fouls and went 2-for-4 on the line. 

Senior forward Gabby Hutcherson followed Malcolm at the line and sank both of her free throws. The Panthers went into the second quarter down 13-9. 

The second quarter started with continued momentum from the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest extended their advantage from 13-9 to 21-9 in just a minute and thirty seconds. 

King drew a foul, which Wake Forest capitalized on. After a few more Deacon layups, Verdi called a time-out. Something resonated with King after the break, as she picked up four points within the first two minutes of the time-out. 

The first half of the game included 16 personal fouls between the two teams. As a result, Wake Forest went 5-for-8 on the line. The Panthers went 5-for-9 as well. 

The referee’s constant foul calls cut the Demon Deacons’ momentum and slowed their lead. Despite this, the Panthers struggled to get shots and went into the second half down 35-24. 

After the break, the Panthers found the momentum they were looking for the whole game. Pitt won the quarter 16-12. Pitt’s third-quarter comeback effort featured a stellar performance from junior forward Rapuluchi Ayodele. She had five points, seven rebounds and one steal in the quarter.

The Demon Deacons sent the Panthers to the free-throw line time and time again in the third. Pitt had a good free-throw day and went 5-for-6 on the line for the quarter. 

Pitt’s strong third quarter started with King on the line again after fighting through three Wake Forest defenders. She sank both of her free throws. Ayodele followed her lead and sank her free throws and followed it up with an additional layup. Ayodele made it a 39-32 game. 

Late in the third, Wake Forest cut Panther momentum after back-to-back three-pointers and made it a 47-33 game with 2:20 left. Every time Pitt made it under a 10-point game, Wake Forest found a way to bounce back and regain its comfortable advantage. 

But in the last minute, the Panthers cut the Deacon’s comfortable lead down to just seven after a steal from Ayodele and an assist to King.

Pitt came back from its disadvantage early in the final quarter. Malcolm sank a three in the first two minutes and made it a 47-43 game.

But the comeback was short-lived. After a Pitt turnover and foul, Wake Forest earned their comfortable advantage back and made it a 57-45 game. 

Pitt picked up their fourth foul after a technical on Verdi. The Demon Deacons extended their lead to 61-50 with 1:11 to go in the game. To finish out the foul-riddled game, the Panthers earned their fifth, sixth and seventh shooting fouls with less than 45 seconds remaining. 

Pitt returns to the road this Sunday to face Syracuse at 2:00 p.m.

About the Contributor
Sara Meyer, Staff Writer
Sara Meyer is a staff writer for the sports desk at The Pitt News. She is a part of the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences class of 2026 and is double majoring in LCJS and politics and philosophy with a minor in economics. This is her second year writing for the sports desk as a staff writer.