Women’s Basketball: Panthers struggle mightily in loss to Georgia Tech

Brianna Kiesel placed her hands on her knees after she had been called for a personal foul late in the fourth quarter of the Pitt women’s basketball game Monday night. She looked down, closed her eyes and shook her head in frustration.

The moment captured the night for the junior guard and her teammates, as Pitt (10-12, 2-6 ACC) fell to Georgia Tech, 77-66, in Atlantic Coast Conference action at the Petersen Events Center.

“I think it is frustrating for us to lose,” senior guard Marquel Davis said. “In order to win, everyone has to contribute. We aren’t a one-person team where one person is going to go out and it is going to be a win for us. I think all of us have to have somewhat of a good game in order to get the ‘W.’”

Despite scoring in double figures for the 28th consecutive game  — dating all the way back to last season — Kiesel finished with a pedestrian performance, scoring 11 points as she shot 2-of-10 from the floor, while fellow backcourt member Davis led the way in scoring with 20 points.

Davis was the lone bright spot in the game for the Panthers, converting eight of her 13 field-goal attempts en route to a season-high scoring output.

“Coach [Suzie McConnell-Serio] told me this was a game where I could get to the basket,” Davis said. “I just took the confidence she had in me and told myself to penetrate and find the bucket.”

The first half provided plenty of back-and-forth action, as Pitt managed to keep the score relatively close for the first 15 minutes.

But the Yellow Jackets (14-8, 4-5 ACC) outscored Pitt 14-4 over the final six minutes of the first half, opening up a 43-30 lead headed into the break.

Georgia Tech’s size advantage — nine players on their roster are listed at six feet or taller — was evident in the points scored in the paints in the first half: The Yellow Jackets outscored Pitt 28-14 down low during the first 20 minutes.

The plethora of easy buckets led to a 56 percent shooting percentage for the visitors, converting 18 of their 32 field-goal attempts in the the first half.



With Kiesel out of the game for a period of time in the second half, the Panthers reeled off nine straight points to cut the lead to 10, but it would prove to be the closest they would come.

The 32.4 shooting percentage (22-68) caught up with the Panthers in the second half as chance after chance grazed the rim or seemed to go in and out of the hoop.

Senior Tyaunna Marshall and freshman Kaela Davis led the way for the Yellow Jackets with 23 and 16 points, respectively. Sophomore forward Aaliyah Whiteside also provided a spark down low with 18 points off the bench.

“Georgia Tech is so good off the dribble and one-on-one, they are athletic and long,” McConnell-Serio said. “So we try to mix up our defenses early. When we defend those shots in practice, I thought we were very good at staying in place. I just thought they got every bounce in the first half.”

Senior Asia Logan was the only other Pitt player to reach double-figure scoring, posting 13 points in limited minutes in the second half after she picked up fouls on three straight possessions.

Loliya Briggs scored five points in 14 minutes of action after not practicing the past two days. She is still recovering from an undisclosed injury sustained while taking a critical charge in the final minute of the Boston College game on Thursday night.

The Panthers return to action on Thursday night when they travel to College Park, Md., to take on the Maryland Terrapins at 7 p.m.