Nov. 20, 2013
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Four players scored in double figures, but it was not enough as Pitt dropped an 83-75 decision to Michigan at Crisler Center on Wednesday evening.
Redshirt sophomore Loliya Briggs paced the Panthers with 14 points, which included three 3-pointers. Senior Asia Logan finished with a double-double, her 10th career, registering 13 points and 10 rebounds. Junior Brianna Kiesel and redshirt freshman Bubbles Anderson tallied 12 points apiece for Pitt (2-2).
“We had our opportunities and just missed shots and they exploited us with the pick-and-roll,” said head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio after the game. “When you have Bubbles (Anderson) in the game, they pay so much attention to her that it opens up your outside game which was the case tonight for us offensively.”
The Panthers shot 49.2 percent from the field, their best shooting contest since last season at DePaul (1/29/13, .516). Pitt knocked down 11 3-pointers, one off the program record set on Dec. 31, 2010 at Central Michigan. Ironically that was the last time the Panthers had a game in the state of Michigan.
Michigan (4-2) got a game-high 22 points from Sierra Thompson, who had four of her team’s five triples. The Wolverines shot 54.9 percent from the field.
The Panthers started off slow, hitting just one of their first six shots of the game and trailed 8-2 after an 18-footer jumper by UM’s leading scorer Shannon Smith.
Pitt found its groove, connecting on four of its next eight attempts to close the gap to a field goal by the next media timeout. The run was highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers from sophomore Brittany Gordon and freshman Chelsea Welch. The Panthers ripped off an 8-2 run, capped on a layup by Bubbles Anderson to pull to a point at 15-14 with 9:43 left in the half.
After a UM score, Pitt knotted the score for the first – and what would be only time - at 17-17 on a triple by Asia Logan at the 8:01 mark. The Wolverines took their game inside, finding Cyesha Goree on back-to-back possessions to put some distance on the scoreboard.
The Wolverines stretched their lead to seven (34-27), but Pitt scored two quick field goals over an eight-second span - two lay-ups, the first from Kiesel and the second on a steal and layup by Welsh - to make it 34-31 at the half.
The teams traded field goals to commence the second half with the Panthers pulling to a lone point on four occasions over the first four and a half minutes of the stanza, the last on a short jumper from Logan to put the score at 43-42 with 15:47 remaining. The Wolverines then ripped off the game’s next eight points, forcing a Pitt timeout.
The Panthers responded out of the stoppage with seven-straight points as Gordon closed the surge with a drive to the hoop to cut the deficit to 51-49. Pitt – again – pulled to a deuce a possession later, before UM got three-straight field goals from Madison Ristovski for a seven-point cushion.
Pitt would not go away quietly, chipping at the lead and closing to four points on a three-ball by Ashlee Anderson with 1:32 to play. They would get no closer as UM used the free throw to its advantage, going 16-for-16 in the second period to help seal the win.
“We defended for 24 seconds of the shot clock and then we would relax,” said McConnell-Serio. “We are a work in progress and we will get better. We talked about the last two days (to the team) about working efficiently on offense and I am proud of how that transferred over in the game. Our margin for error is so small; the missed opportunities get magnified. We have to find ways to get over the hump and be more successful down the stretch and I know we will.”
The Panthers recorded a season-high 18 assists.
Pitt continues its road swing with a Saturday afternoon tilt at Loyola Maryland. Game time at Reitz Arena is set for 1 p.m.
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