Coming off a huge win over Notre Dame Wednesday in the ACC Tournament, Pitt women’s basketball had only one day to prepare for Georgia Tech Thursday night — a team which it lost to by 29 points earlier in January.
While Pitt played a much better game than it did in the first matchup, the length and height of Georgia Tech’s defenders caused problems all game long as the Yellow Jackets forced 18 turnovers, scoring 20 points off of them to deal the Panthers a 68-58 loss in the second round.
The Panthers (5-26 overall) also struggled from 3-point range against the Yellow Jackets (20-10 overall), shooting 3-13 after going 9-16 against the Fighting Irish. They ran into foul trouble quite often, finishing with 22 fouls compared to the Yellow Jackets’ 12.
Georgia Tech played through senior guard Francesca Pan the whole game and she scored seven points in the first quarter. She helped Georgia Tech maintain a one-point lead, 17-16, at quarter’s end.
Just like the first quarter, the second quarter was back and forth between the two squads with eight lead changes, totaling 14 in the first half.
Foul trouble highlighted Pitt’s second quarter, as both key first-year contributors Dayshanette Harris and Rita Igbokwe picked up their second fouls and spent time on the bench.
The Yellow Jackets took advantage of the duo’s absence, outscoring the Panthers 8-2 to end the first half and take a 31-26 lead. Pan scored seven more points in the second quarter to lead the Yellow Jackets.
Igbokwe picked up her third foul right on the first possession of the third quarter, sending her back to the bench and making the paint much easier to attack for Georgia Tech.
As Pitt struggled with foul trouble and penetrating the 2-3 zone, Georgia Tech jumped out to a 38-30 lead with seven minutes to go in the third quarter, prompting Pitt head coach Lance White to call a timeout.
Shortly after, the Panthers went on a quick 8-0 run to draw within a single point. Georgia Tech first-year center Nerea Hermosa drained a short jumper at the buzzer, making it a 48-45 lead for the Yellow Jackets heading into the last quarter.
In a perfect world, Pitt would’ve continued its storybook tournament by turning in a big fourth quarter to beat the Yellow Jackets. Unfortunately for the Panthers, it didn’t happen that way.
Georgia Tech started with an 8-2 run by the 6:20 mark and wasn’t threatened the rest of the way. It extended its lead to 14 late in the fourth quarter, but Pitt cut it back down to 10 before the end of the game.
Pan continued to dominate for the Yellow Jackets, scoring all eight points on that run to settle the game for her team and finishing with 12 in the quarter and 26 on the night.
Harris maintained her stellar play from Notre Dame into Thursday night, finishing the fourth quarter with six points and 21 points for the game.
Igbokwe eventually fouled out after playing just 23 minutes and scoring three points. But she did record three blocks, bringing her total to 60 on the year, which puts her eighth place all time for blocks in a season.
Green also set a new record by making her 60th 3-pointer of the year, breaking the record for most 3-pointers in a season for a junior Pitt player. Mallorie Winn held the record with 59 3-pointers as a junior in the 2005-06 season.
The Panthers finished the season with the least amount of wins and most losses in program history. But with Harris, Igbokwe and first-year guard Amber Brown back next year to lead the team, plus a couple talented new recruits, the Panthers could be much improved in 2020-21.
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