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Nov. 15, 2006

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Nov. 15, 2006

PITTSBURGH - Led by Marcedes Walker and Shavonte Zellous' 23-point, eight-rebound performances, the Pitt women's basketball team (1-0) defeated California (Pa.) (0-1) 71-58 Wednesday night at the Petersen Events Center for its season opener.

Walker (Philadelphia, Pa./University City) shot 9 of 12 from the field and added three steals and two blocks. Zellous (Orlando, Fla./Jones) hit 9 of 11 from the field and was a perfect 5 of 5 from the free throw line for her career-best 23-point total.

"We're very happy to be 1-0," head coach Agnus Berenato said. "We have such a young team that coming in I was a little nervous about how everyone was going to perform. I thought our defensive intensity in the first half was great and really set up our offense so that we could get out and run. I thought we lacked somewhat of a killer instinct in the second half, but that's something that is going to come in time as we continue to develop as a program."

Freshman guard Jania Sims (Newark, N.J./Shabazz) was thrust into the starting lineup with the injury to Mallorie Winn and responded with 12 points, six rebounds and five assists in her first collegiate game. Sims got the Panthers off to a quick start hitting her first three shots for six points in the opening four minutes of the game.

"I wasn't nervous at all going in," Sims said. "I had the support of my coach and my teammates to talk me through some things, but I have confidence in my game. When I'm out on the court, I'm not a freshman. I didn't feel any pressure. I was just excited to help my teammates score points."

The Vulcans jumped out to a quick start taking an early four-point lead at 6-2. The game remained tight through the first 12 minutes with Pitt taking over the final eight minutes of the first half. The Panther defense held California without a field goal from the 8:08 mark in the first half to the 17:10 mark in the second half. The run at the end of the first half included a 14-0 Pitt charge.

Entering the lockerroom at the half, Pitt held a 47-24 lead, hitting 52.9 percent of its shots from the field. California put up a fight in the second half, outscoring Pitt 34-24 for the 13-point Pitt victory.

The Panthers will have just one day off before hosting Mount St. Mary's (0-1) Friday at 7 p.m. at the Petersen Events Center.


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