Women’s Basketball: Eyeing rebound performance, Pitt faces Michigan

Womens Basketball: Eyeing rebound performance, Pitt faces Michigan

On the heels of its first loss of the season, the Pitt women’s basketball team heads to Ann Arbor, Mich., to take on the Michigan Wolverines in a non-conference battle.

The Panthers and Wolverines tip off at 7 tonight at the Chrysler Center.

Pitt (2-1) suffered its first loss of the season Sunday when it dropped a non-conference game at home to Lafayette College for the second straight year, 48-45.

This is the first time Pitt will face a Big Ten conference opponent since the 2011-2012 team traveled to Cancun, Mexico, Dec. 20 and 21 to face Indiana and Michigan State. The Panthers won both games by a combined 17 points. 

Pitt has not played Michigan in more than 20 years, with the teams’ last meeting having occurred Dec. 19, 1992, when Pitt prevailed 64-62. In three meetings with the Wolverines, Pitt boasts a 2-1 record. 

The same shortcomings of last year’s Pitt team seemed to return Sunday in the loss against Lafayette. The Panthers struggled from the field, shooting only 30.2 percent (19-63). They attempted only 12 free throws in the game and woefully converted on only six of those attempts.

Lafayette out-rebounded Pitt head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio’s team, 51-43, with redshirt freshman Marvadene “Bubbles” Anderson and junior Cora McManus combining for only six rebounds at the center position.

McManus played only seven minutes after picking up four quick personal fouls, forcing Pitt to continue without a center for extended periods of time while Anderson, who played a total of 20 minutes, rested.

The Lafayette contest also presented Pitt with a break from the high volume of foul calls to which the team had started to adapt, given the new rules limiting freedom of movement in women’s hoops. Throughout the game, a total of 31 fouls were called among both teams. 

In its previous two games, Pitt had seen a combined 84 foul calls and 70 free-throw attempts. The continued adjustment to the new rules, especially in the front court, will be paramount Wednesday for the Panthers.

After getting off to their best start since 2009, the Panthers enter tonight’s game with an opportunity to break Michigan’s (3-2) winning streak.

After dropping two of their first three games, the Wolverines return to the Chrysler Center to face Pitt after consecutive road wins against Detroit and Western Michigan.

The Wolverines have won at least 20 games in three of the past four seasons and look to use the Pitt game as a springboard into the Barclays Invitational in Brooklyn, N.Y., a non-conference tournament with a host of quality opponents.

Following the Michigan game, the Panthers continue their road swing as they travel to Loyola Maryland on Saturday.