Virginia Falls 79-75 to Pitt in ACC Opener
Jan. 5, 2014
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia women’s basketball team (7-7, 0-1 ACC) fell 79-75 to Pittsburgh (9-7, 1-1 ACC) in the Cavaliers’ ACC opener Sunday afternoon (Jan. 5) at John Paul Jones Arena.
“We are disappointed in our first ACC game,” said Virginia head coach Joanne Boyle. “Obviously, we pride ourselves in our defense and that didn’t work well tonight. A lot of credit to Pitt, they hit some big shots. We just need to get back into the gym and get ready for our next game.”
Senior guard Kelsey Wolfe (Germantown, Md.) scored 21 points with four assists and five rebounds. Wolfe scored 10 points at the free throw line, going 10-of-11 from the charity stripe. Sophomore guard Faith Randolph (Derwood, Md.) finished with 21 points for the Cavaliers, going 7-of-10 from the field and 6-of-7 from the stripe while adding five rebounds and two steals, before fouling out in the final minute of the contest.
Pitt point guard Brianna Kiesel scored 26 points, going 9-of-9 from the free throw line and 8-of-16 from the field, adding seven assists, three rebounds and three steals.
The Panthers made 10-of-21 three-point attempts, going 5-of-9 in the second half. Loliya Briggs went 4-of-7 from three-point range, scoring 18 points overall while Ashlee Anderson was 3-of-3 from long range, scoring 11 points with three assists.
In a game with 10 lead changes, the Panthers took their largest lead of the game, 70-61, with 4:33 remaining. The Cavaliers, fueled by a pair of jumpers and a steal from Randolph, went on an 8-0 run to pull within a point with 2:28 remaining, but Pitt responded, holding a 77-71 advantage with 29 seconds remaining.
The Cavaliers mounted one final comeback attempt when Wolfe was fouled on a three-point attempt with 22 seconds remaining. Wolfe made two free throws to cut the deficit to 77-73. After senior guard Ataira Franklin (Bowie, Md.) got a steal on the Pitt inbounds pass, she dished the ball to freshman guard Tiffany Suarez (Miami, Fla.) who made the jumper to make it a two-point game, 77-75, with 17.9 seconds left on the clock.
The Cavalier defense put on a full-court press, trying to force a turnover or a ten-second violation, but ended up fouling and sending Kiesel to the line with 11.7 seconds remaining. Kiesel made her free throws to seal the victory for Pitt.
Virginia started the game making just one of its first nine field goal attempts while Pitt started the game making 6-of-12. The Cavaliers finished the game shooting 40.4 percent (23-of-57) while the Panthers made 55.8 percent (29-of-52) of their field goal attempts, including shooting 61.5 percent (16-of-26) in the second half.
Virginia was 25-of-31 from the free throw line while Pitt, which only made 5-of-9 free throw attempts in the first half including missing several front ends of one-and-ones, was a perfect 6-of-6 from the stripe in the second half to cement its first-ever ACC victory.
The Cavaliers next head to Blacksburg, Va. where they will face Virginia Tech (10-4, 0-1 ACC) on Thursday, Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. The Cavaliers return home next Sunday, Jan. 12 when they host No. 2 Notre Dame (13-0, 1-0 ACC) at 2 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena.