Nov. 14, 2013
MUNCIE, Ind. – Behind a balanced attack, the Pitt women’s basketball team recorded a 63-58 win at Ball State at Worthen Arena on Thursday evening.
Redshirt senior Ashlee Anderson and junior Brianna Kiesel had 12 points each for the Panthers, who moved to 2-0 to start a season for the first time since 2009. The win was also the Panthers’ first road victory since Jan. 2, 2013 (at Old Dominion).
“It was a great team effort, a great team win. We got contributions from everyone across the board.” said head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio. “When we got aggressive in the second half at both ends of the floor – it was a pace on offense and attacking the basket and defensively putting pressure on the ball and denying. Our defense created our offense for us in the second half and that was the difference."
Freshman Bubbles Anderson had 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds in her collegiate debut. Asia Logan and Loliya Briggs pumped in nine and eight points, respectively. As a team, Pitt shot over 40 percent from the field for the second time in as many games; recording a 50 percent effort in the second half.
Ball State got 17 points from Brittany Carter, nine of those coming from behind the arc. The Cardinals scored 23 of its 58 points from the free throw line – making 32 trips to the charity stripe in the game.
The second half was a race to the finish. The Panthers led by as many as eight points on two separate occasions early in the stanza, lastly at the 16:09 mark after a floater in traffic by Briggs to make it 38-30.
The Cardinals scored nine of the game’s next 10 points to knot the score at 39-39. Seven of Ball State’s nine points came from the free throw line over the two-minute run.
After the home team took over the lead at 45-42, Pitt stopped settling for jumpers and elected to drive to the hoop. Asia Logan drove the near side to cut the edge to one and Briggs followed with a lay-in to move Pitt ahead, 46-45 with 9:39 remaining.
The Cardinals responded with a basket in the paint by Natalie Fontaine, but the Panthers got another timely field goal - to again - take the lead. Ashlee Anderson got into traffic and swiped the ball, going coast-to-coast from right to left to put Pitt ahead, 48-47 with 7:54 on the clock.
Ball State knocked down its sixth triple of the game on the next trip down the court to retake the lead at 50-48. Both teams missed their next two shots, until Pitt capitalized on a Ball State turnover.
Chelsea Welsh knocked the ball loose from the hands of Carter and a host of players took off down the court trying to snatch the rolling ball. Welch jumped on it, never getting up off the floor and managed to toss to Kiesel under the Pitt basket. Kiesel converted the bucket and drew the foul as the old-fashioned three-point play made it 51-50 Pitt with 6:13 showing.
Another Welch defensive play - this one credited with a steal - led to a Panthers score on the next possession. Kiesel calmly dropped a three-pointer from in front of the Pitt bench to make it a four-point Pitt lead.
The Cardinals drained another 3-pointer which marked the ninth lead change of the game – but it would be the last time Ball State would hold that lead. The Cards missed three of their next four shots and the Panthers got points from the charity stripe, making three of four to grip a 59-58 lead. Anderson found Kiesel just under the basket on a sly inbound play to give Pitt a three-point cushion with a lay-up with 1:44 remaining.
Ball State got two from the free throw line with 1:25 left, but Kiesel had an answer on Pitt’s next trip down the court with a drive in the lane. The point guard scored all 10 of her second half points over the last six minutes of the game as the last with 1:08 made it 61-58 Pitt.
The Cards missed on their next attempt and Pitt was whistled for an offensive foul with 20.7 seconds left to give the home one last try.
With the ball outside the arc on the left wing and Ashlee Anderson on the defender, Welch was able to sneak behind Renee Bennett and grab the ball. The freshman dribbled upcourt, and dished to a streaking Anderson, who was fouled with 3.4 seconds left. She converted both for the final score.
The teams traded long-range field goals to start the match-up. The Panthers went up 6-3 after a baseline 3-pointer from by Ashlee Anderson. Ball State tied it up with a triple of its own from leading scorer Carter at the 16:09 mark. Both teams struggled with offense with the next field goal not coming for almost six minutes.
Ball State took its largest lead of the game at 12-8 after back-to-back three-pointers. Bubbles Anderson ended the Cardinals run with a kiss off the glass and Brittany Gordon followed with a deep three to give Pitt a lead it would hold the rest of the half. Gordon had seven points – all in the first half.
The was was the 125th collegiate coaching career victory for Suzie McConnell-Serio.
The Panthers are back in action on Sunday, Nov. 17, entertaining Lafayette at 1 p.m. at the Petersen Events Center.
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