Dec. 29, 2007
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -
The Pitt women fought to a 69-61 win over James Madison Saturday afternoon in the first game of the Wagner Holiday Classic, behind a 26-point performance from junior Shavonte Zellous.
"This was by far our best effort of the year," Pitt head coach Agnus Berenato said. "Shavonte played like a champ. James Madison is a heck of a team and I can see why they took Maryland down to the wire. I told the team that we could very well see them in the postseason again this year.
"I am excited," Berenato continued. "This was a great environment and just a great team victory for Pitt."
Zellous (Orlando, Fla./Jones) scored 13 first half points on the way to her 26 points and added seven rebounds and three blocks in the contest. Marcedes Walker (Philadelphia, Pa./University City) added 13 points and 14 rebounds for her seventh double-double of the season and sophomore Jania Sims (Newark, N.J./Shabazz) added 13 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Pitt was down early 3-2, but the Panthers captured the lead at 4-3 and held the lead for the next 11:14. From there, the game went back and forth with James Madison taking the slim 35-33 lead into the lockerroom.
The game saw the scored 13 times and 10 lead changes. Pitt began to pull away at the end as it went on a 6-0 run from the 7:06 mark to 4:34 to take the 59-53 advantage. From that point, the Dukes could not pull closer than three points as the Panthers went on to the eight-point victory.
James Madison shot 35.0 percent from the field, but received an outstanding performance from Tamera Young, who scored 32 points on 12 of 20 from the field to go with nine rebounds and four assists. The Dukes were 0 of 12 from three point range and were out-rebounded by Pitt 45 to 39.
Pitt will play host school Wagner Sunday at 2 p.m. to wrap up the classic for the Panthers. Sunday's game will be broadcast live on the web as a part of Panthers All-Access at www.pittsburghpanthers.com with Greg Linnelli and Mike Clark calling the action. The game will also be broadcast on FOX Sports Radio 970 AM on a delay following the Pittsburgh Steelers broadcast at approximately 7 p.m.