BURLINGTON, VT-Sophomore Marcedes Walker led four players in double figures, as the University of Pittsburgh won its season-opener 76-49 and advances to the championship round of the TD Banknorth Classic held at the University of Vermont. The Panthers will face Vermont at , Saturday night in Patrick Gymnasium.
Walker (Philadelphia, Pa./University City) led all scorers with 26 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Also scoring in double figures was freshman Xenia Stewart (Bowie, MD/Riverdale Baptist) with 16 points and eight rebounds, junior Mallorie Winn (San Diego, CA/Bishop's/Georgia Tech) with 14 points and five assists and freshmanMaddy Brown (Honeoye Falls, NY/Honeoye Falls-Lima), who had 10 points.
The second half of the game started out slow as both teams scored a combined three points in the first four minutes of action.
The crowd excited as Walker sent a pass over her shoulder that found senior Cheron Taylor (Detriot, MI/Martin Luther King) cutting from the high post to the opposite block to give Pitt its first basket of the half and a 41-32 lead with 16:47 left to play.
Freshman Shavonte Zellous (Orlando, Fla./Jones) connected on a pair of free throws to extend Pitt's lead to 17, 51-34, with under 12 minutes remaining.
The tempo of the game was slowed, again, as both teams entered the bonus ten minutes into the second period. William and Mary made 13 of its 20 opportunities from the charity stripe, while Pitt converted on 18 second-half chances.
Dani Kell made four of her five looks from the foul line within a one-minute stretch for the Tribe. Later, Stewart made four free throws of her own and Walker added two baskets.
At the mark, Taylor grabbed one of her team-leading eight rebounds and drew a foul, sending her to the line for two making it a 19-point game.
Pitt ran the floor all night. Following a timeout the Panthers caused a Tribe turnover, where Walker led the break. Walker passed the ball ahead to Stewart, who then passed the ball back to Walker for the layup. Pitt went ahead 69-47 with left to play.
Kyra Kaylor of William and Mary cut into the Panthers' lead with a layup at the mark, but this would be the last basket for the Tribe as Pitt's defense held on for the win.
The first half included four lead changes and three ties. Following a Pittsburgh timeout the Panthers jumped up four, 20-16, with baskets from Brown and Winn at the mark. The Tribe's Lizzie Schiel connected on a three-pointer on the other end to cut Pitt's lead to one, two possessions later. Winn and Schiel combined to nail four-consecutive baskets from behind the arc leaving Pitt with a four point lead with just over six minutes remaining in the first stanza.
Walker converted from the free throw line on an and-one play with left in the first to give the Panthers a five-point advantage. Brown sank a three-pointer to give Pitt a 38-30 advantage at the half.
The Panthers will play Vermont at , Saturday night in the championship game of the TD Banknorth Classic. The game can be heard at Fox Sports Radio 970 AM on a delay at
Notes: Pitt out rebounded William & Mary, 47-42; Pitt held the Tribe to 17 percent shooting in the second half; The Panthers scored 34 points in the paint.