Feb. 11, 2012
CINCINNATI - Despite four players in double figures, Pitt women’s basketball could not stop Cincinnati, falling 62-57 on Saturday afternoon at Fifth Third Arena. The back-and-forth affair featured 11 lead changes and six ties.
Redshirt sophomore Ashlee Anderson had 15 points, while freshman Brianna Kiesel and sophomore Marquel Davis added 13 points apiece. Redshirt sophomore Leeza Burdgess posted her third career double-double, collecting 10 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. The loss was the 10th straight for the Panthers (8-16, 0-11 Big East).
"We played for a full 40 minutes and didn’t have any lapses today, we started game strong and game was back-and-forth. There were 11 lead changes and that’s the kind of game in February you have to have,” said Pitt head coach Agnus Berenato after the game. “Our guards - we challenged them in practice, they were more fluid this week. They had to make shots over the men (practice players) in practice. I thought today they didn’t hesitate on their shots and it showed in a much better effort.”
Bearcats guard Bjonee Reaves led all scorers with 19 points, 11 of those in the second half. Dayeesha Hollins added 15 points for Cincinnati, which improved to 13-12, 4-8 in league action.
Neither team led by more than four points in the see-saw first half. An offensive put-back from Burdgess put the Panthers ahead, 8-5, at the 15:05 mark. The Bearcats responded with six of the game’s next eight points to retake the advantage at 11-10. Chantel Chisholm had four of UC’s six points over the short spurt.
A steal and layup from Anderson vaulted Pitt to its largest lead of the first half (15-11) with 12:07 on the clock. After two UC free throws Davis- again- made it a four-point game with a short jumper from the left elbow.
The Panthers still had a three-point edge with 3:23 on the clock after a Burdgess layup, but Pitt would miss its final six shots of the first period as UC regained the lead. The Bearcats ripped off a 6-0 to take a 28-25 lead into the locker room.
Cincy scored the first four points of the second to stretch its lead to seven and make it a 10-0 run over the two halves. Six-straight points from three different players, closed on a runner from Anderson narrowed the gap to one at 32-31. A baseline 3-pointer by Kayla quieted the Panthers and made it a two-possession game.
Pitt used a 4-0 run with scores from Anderson (two free throws) and Davis to tie the game at 35-35. With the game again tied – this time at 37-37 – the Bearcats used the 3-ball to put distance on the scoreboard. Chisholm drained one from the top of the key to make it 40-37.
The Bearcats extended the lead to 46-41, but the Panthers responded with an 8-2 run. Anderson started the rally with a triple and Kiesel closed it with an old fashioned three-point play to give Pitt a 49-48 lead – its first of the second half – with 6:14 remaining.
UC reeled off the next six-straight over a three and a half minute span to pull to a 55-49 lead with 3:41 to go. Pitt turned the ball over three times over the span and got back onto the scoreboard on a jumper from Kiesel at the 3:18 mark. The four point margin was as close as the Panthers would come.
UC was 7-of-12 from the free throw line in the final three minutes of play - going to the line 28 times in the contest (19-of-28).
The Panthers, who were 8-of-8 from the free throw line, registered a season-high in second chance points (20).
It marked the third time this season that four Pitt players grabbed double figures in the same contest. The loss ended an eight-game stronghold for the Panthers over the Bearcats in Big East play – it was the first set-back for Pitt against UC since they joined the league prior to the 2005-06 season.