The Panthers didn’t have trouble getting their paws on the ball Sunday — but they couldn’t convert possessions into points, leading to a gruesome loss against No. 10 Louisville.
The Cardinals (24-6, ACC 15-1) clobbered the Pitt women’s basketball team (12-17, ACC 4-12) at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky, 65-36. Louisville never gave up an early lead, as its sophomore not-so-secret weapon Myisha Hines-Allen commanded the floor from beginning to end.
Hines-Allen broke out early, putting up six of Louisville’s eight points off the jump. Power trio Hines-Allen, Taja Cole and Briahanna Jackson proved an unstoppable force, picking up a rhythm that Pitt failed to find from the start.
Yacine Diop and Stasha Carey made unsuccessful shot attempts for Pitt as it struggled to convert significant turnovers early on, forcing head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio to call a timeout early in the quarter.
Near the end of the first quarter, Pitt freshman Brenna Wise was finally able to put Pitt on the board with two. But Louisville’s Jackson quickly overshadowed her, sinking a corner three.
Pitt was trailing 27-6 at the bottom of the first quarter as Hines-Allen held her momentum going 6 for 6 on field goal attempts. With 13 out of the 27 points on the board, she nearly hit her 16 points per game average in just one quarter.
Hines-Allen would finish out the game with 25 points, going 11-14 from the field, three for three on free throws and 13 rebounds, earning her ninth double-double of the season.
Coming back for the second quarter, Cole made a nearly court-length pass to Jackson who quickly scooped an impressive layup, bringing the score to 31-8.
The Panthers struggled to interrupt Louisville’s rhythm around the horn. Coming off an inbound, Hines-Allen deftly trumped Pitt’s defense to bring the Cardinals up 36-8 with just under six left in the half.
Louisville’s lead rose and the Panthers’ energy waned as Pitt grabbed only six rebounds to Louisville’s 24 in the first half. Although the Panthers made more field goal attempts — 27 to 25 — Louisville had a little more than four times as many successful scores — 17 to Pitt’s four.
Hines-Allen started off the third quarter with a Jackson-assisted jumper. With 8:59 left in the quarter, Diop missed two free throw attempts, which Wise countered after hitting both of her free throw shots.
The Cardinals missed their following six field goal opportunities, giving Pitt time to pick up six points and bringing the score to 18-44.
Carey chipped in Pitt’s first 3-point shot of the game with 3:25 left on the clock. Jackson, sensing the pressure of Pitt’s switch from man to zone defense, followed up with an earned layup.
The third quarter ended with a 3-point buzzer shot by the Cardinals’ Cole, bringing the lead to 24-53, Louisville.
At the start of the fourth, Pitt’s zone slowed Louisville’s first half momentum, as the Panthers momentarily cut Louisville’s lead to less than half.
Carey knocked down a jumper, which Hines-Allen answered with a jumper of her own for her 25th point of the game.
With 6:29 left in the game, Pitt sophomore Aysia Bugg made the second 3-point shot for Pitt and eventually made another within the minute, putting an additional six on the board for Pitt.
Louisville guard Asia Durr followed Bugg’s trend for the Cardinals, putting three up for Louisville and then a jumper in her second field goal attempt with just under five minutes on the clock.
The game fizzled out with a few free throw shots by Diop and Tania Lamb and five points by Cardinal Erin DeGrate. Pitt never recovered from an abysmal first half, finishing out 36-65.
Pitt will next play in the ACC tournament, which runs March 2-5, in Greensboro, North Carolina. The seeding and tournament schedule is not finalized.