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Pitt women's basketball roll over Mount St. Mary 74-57 - The Pitt News

The Pitt News

Pitt women’s basketball roll over Mount St. Mary 74-57

Forward+Stasha+Carey+lead+the+Panthers+to+victory+on+Tuesday+night.++Dagmar+Seppala+%7C+Staff+Photographer
Forward Stasha Carey lead the Panthers to victory on Tuesday night.  Dagmar Seppala | Staff Photographer

Forward Stasha Carey lead the Panthers to victory on Tuesday night. Dagmar Seppala | Staff Photographer

Forward Stasha Carey lead the Panthers to victory on Tuesday night. Dagmar Seppala | Staff Photographer

By Logan Hitchcock / Staff Writer

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On Tuesday night, the Pitt women’s basketball team peaked well above the Mountaineers.

In a young season of disappointing offensive performances, the Pitt women’s basketball team wasted no time disposing of Mount St. Mary’s University, 74-57, thanks to an efficient offense and a stifling defense.

The Panthers got on the board first when freshman Kalista Walters made a layup with 9:17 left in the first quarter.

The Panthers followed this up with three more easy buckets, giving them a quick 8-0 lead just two minutes later.

The rest of the first quarter followed suit, as the Panthers capitalized in the post against a smaller Mountaineer frontcourt. Walters and sophomore forward Stasha Carey dominated the boards and were responsible for 17 of the Panthers’ 22 first-quarter points.

“It felt great,” said Carey, who was a key part of Tuesday’s win after a down Sunday against College of the Holy Cross. “We were aggressive from the jump. I think that helped force them to make turnovers and for us to get easy points,” she said.

In the second quarter, the Panthers kept applying pressure, increasing the defensive intensity and finding the bottom of the net from beyond the arc. Freshman forward Kauia Bradley aided a stingy Panthers’ defense that forced 16 turnovers in the first half, picking up two steals of her own while maintaining constant coverage on the Mountaineer ball handlers.

After Pitt spent most of the first quarter finishing from the rim, junior guard Fred Potvin provided the Panthers with a scoring threat from beyond the arc. Potvin knocked down 3-pointers on consecutive possessions and helped extend the Panthers lead to 21 points.

“We’ve been looking for that player to be the 3-point shooter,” Pitt head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said. “Fred had some struggles early, but found her rhythm tonight.”

But as the quarter waned on, Pitt struggled with turnovers, a problem that has plagued them for much of the early season. As the Mountaineers’ defense instituted a full court press, Panther ball handlers found a propensity for throwing the ball away, and Pitt wound up turning the ball over 10 times in the first half.

Nevertheless, the Panthers kept finding easy buckets at the rim, taking a 40-24 lead into the halftime break.

The second half started much slower for the Panthers, but the game plan remained the same as a frustrating defense led to some early scoring opportunities. After a pair of buckets though, the scoring began to tilt in the Mountaineers’ favor, as they connected on five of six field goals during a four minute span of the third quarter, cutting the Panthers’ lead to 13 before forcing McConnell-Serio to call a timeout.

The timeout seemed to give the Panthers a necessary spark, as they added a quick six points out of the break, three of which came on another connection from beyond the arc by Potvin. Although only forcing four turnovers in the third quarter, Pitt maintained and added to its lead from the first half, finishing the quarter up 56-38.

Taking an 18-point lead into the fourth quarter, Pitt avoided any letdowns by continuing its efficient efforts on the offensive end, while trading baskets with the Mountaineers. Improving on their shooting performance from last time out, the Panthers finished the game shooting 47 percent from the field, including 36 percent from beyond the arc.

Despite a brief run from the Mountaineers in the middle of the fourth quarter, the Panthers victory was never in jeopardy, as they continued to get easy scoring chances around the basket.

“There was a focus on our post players running the floor hard, and our guards running the floor and being able to advance the ball and attack them inside with dribble penetration and ball movement,” McConnell-Serio said about the Panthers’ improved offensive performance.

Starters Walters and Carey led Pitt offensively, as they poured in 17 and 14 points respectively, while Potvin added 11 points off the bench.

“It most definitely felt good, it’s been awhile since we shot well from the 3-point line” said Potvin, who knocked down three shots from beyond the arc and gave Pitt a much needed scoring threat from the bench. “I think I bring a spark off the bench.”

Pitt will play next when they travel to Princeton, New Jersey, to take on the Princeton University Tigers on Dec. 12.

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Pitt women’s basketball roll over Mount St. Mary 74-57