Jan. 5, 2014
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The University of Pittsburgh women's basketball team shot a season-high 55.8 percent from the floor to help guide the Panthers past the University of Virginia, 79-75, and earn their first-ever ACC victory on Sunday afternoon at John Paul Jones Arena.
The Panthers (9-7, 1-1) had four players score in double-figures, led by Brianna Kiesel who had 26 points and seven assists. Loliya Briggs made a career-high four 3-pointers en route to scoring 18 points, while Asia Logan and Ashlee Anderson chipped in with 12 and 11 points, respectively. As a team, Pitt was 29-of-52 from the floor, while Virginia (7-7, 0-1) shot 40.4 percent (29-of-52).
The game featured four ties and 10 lead changes, but Pitt went ahead 48-47 on a corner three from Briggs with 14:42 left and led for the remainder of the game. Junior Chyna Golden came up large for the Panthers on the boards, grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds to help Pitt hold the edge on the glass 34-30.
"On the offensive end, I think our players handled Virginia's defensive changes very well, going from a 1-2-2, to a 2-3 zone, to man," head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said. "We made good decision and moved the ball well. We hit some big time shots. Defensively, despite getting in some foul trouble and Virginia shooting 31 free throws, we defended well throughout the game. Chyna Golden was a spark off the bench and obviously our starters continue to make great plays. I am proud of our effort and this is a huge win on the road in the ACC."
Pitt came out of the gates on fire, making four of its first six shots, including Anderson's 3-pointer which gave the Panthers a 9-1 lead. Kiesel's fast break layup at 13:57 put every Pitt starter in the scoring column as the Panthers went up 13-6.
With Pitt leading 20-14, Virginia roared back with a 12-1 run, led by Kelsey Wolfe who scored seven straight points, including an and-1 which gave UVA its first lead of the game at 23-21. UVA maintained its first half lead until Pitt scored seven unanswered points to regain a 33-32 advantage. Pitt's final hoop of the half came on a desperation 3-pointer from Kiesel who connected from 10 feet behind the arc with the shot clock expiring. However, UVA led by one point at the break, 37-36.
Logan scored all 12 of her points in the first half, while Kiesel had 11 at the break. Pitt shot a season-high 50 percent in the first half (13-of-26) and was 5-of-12 from downtown. UVA also had two players reach double-figures in the first half as Wolfe had 12 and Faith Randolph had 11.
Neither team could create separation from each other as the lead would change six times in the first five minutes of the second half, and UVA led 47-45 with 14:56 remaining. But then Briggs and Anderson combined to score 16 of the next 18 Pitt points, (10 from Briggs, six from Anderson) to gain a 63-57 advantage with 6:52 left in the contest.
Golden pushed the lead to nine at 70-61 with her only bucket of the game, but UVA's Faith Randolph led an 8-0 Cavalier spurt which cut the Pitt lead to one with 2:28 remaining. The Panthers though, responded with a tough jumper from Kiesel and a three-point play from Marquel Davis to increase their lead back to six at 75-69.
Trailing by six (77-71), The Cavaliers had one final push in them, and a steal and layup by Tiffany Suarez off a Pitt inbounds attempt got UVA within two (77-75) with 18 seconds left. The Panthers would then successfully get the ball into the hands of Kiesel, who has made 39 of her last 41 free throws, and she iced the game by making both of her attempts from the line with 11 second to go.
Pitt's starting lineup came up huge in this game, scoring 74 of the team's 79 points. Virginia's bench had 37 points, and UVA held the advantage in the paint, 30-22. Wolfe and Randolph led UVA in scoring as both had 21 points.
The Panthers will look to win back-to-back ACC road games as Pitt will travel to Clemson next Sunday for a game with the Tigers. Tip is set for 2 p.m.
Notes: Kiesel has scored 20+ points in three-straight games and four of her last five contests...She has scored double-figures in 22 straight games...Pitt has out-rebounded its opponent in four of their last five games...Pitt made 10 3-pointers, their second highest total of the season (11 at Michigan).