PITTSBURGH – The Pitt women’s basketball team (1-4, 0-0 ACC) fell at home Tuesday afternoon on School Day at the Petersen Events Center in front of 3,155 school-aged kids to the Coppin State Eagles, 61-56. The loss marked the fourth straight for the Panthers.
Liatu King continued her strong play in the loss as she netted her fourth double-double of the season with 22 points, 11 rebounds, two steals and two blocks while going 10-for-20 from the floor. Aislin Malcolm she had another solid game as she finished with 13 points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists in 32 minutes of work. Off the bench, Bella Perkins finished with seven points while Aaryn Battle had a career-high five assists in the loss.
As a team, Pitt shot just 36.7% from the floor while the Eagles shot 38.3% in the win. The Panthers earned the slim 36-34 edge in rebounds and the 28-18 lead in scoring inside the paint. The difference in the game came from behind the arc as the Eagles netted seven first half triples while Pitt went 3-for-16 from behind the arc in the loss.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Panthers got out to the 4-3 lead early on as Rapuluchi Ayodele made a layout and Aislin Malcolm sank a pair of free throws. The visitors came right back and used an 8-2 run to take the 11-6 lead. Aaryn Battle sank his first career triple to get Pitt within two, 13-11, late in the quarter but the Eagles finished the quarter on a 9-2 run to take the 20-15 lead through 10 minutes.
The Eagles took control of the game in the third quarter as they started to connect from behind the arc. Tiffany Hammond for Coppin State made four triples in the quarter as they were able to push their lead to 39-22 late in the quarter. Malcolm closed out the scoring in the second for the Panthers with a layup and free throw as Pitt trailed 43-27 heading into the locker room.
The Panthers came out like a new team in the third quarter as King netted 10 of the first 13 points for Pitt as they brought it within three, 44-41, midway through the quarter. The Eagles responded to push their lead back to nine, 51-42, late in the quarter but King finished off an and one layup and free throw and Malcolm drained a tear drop runner at the buzzer to send the game to the fourth with Pitt trailing by just four, 51-47.
Gabby Hutcherson opened the final frame with an offensive rebound and layup and Perkins and King finished off buckets to make it a one-point game, 57-56, with just over two minutes to play. With just over a minute to go trailing by one still, Malcolm earned a steal but the Panthers missed a corner triple for the lead and the Eagles made a pair of free throws to take the 59-56 advantage. Pitt had two more chances for the tying triple over the final 40 seconds but Perkins missed both attempts and the Eagles survived with the 61-56 victory.
- With the loss, Pitt is 3-2 all-time against the Eagles and 2-2 at home against them
- Pitt is now 18-2 all-time against current MEAC schools
- King notched his fourth double-double of the season with 22 points and 11 rebounds in the loss
- King is the first Panther in over 20 years to open the season with four double-doubles through the first five games of the season
- The 22-point effort marked her fifth 20+ point game of her career and second of the season
- Malcolm notched his second career double digit scoring game as she netted 13 points in the loss
- Battle recorded a career-high five assists in the loss
- Pitt heads south for the Daytona Beach Classic as they will take on Northern Kentucky and Akron.
- The Panthers will take on Northern Kentucky on Friday at 3:30 pm and Akron on Saturday at 1:15 pm inside the Ocean Center.