Panthers come back and outlast Virginia Tech
By: Jacque Howell
The Pittsburgh Panthers made an incredible late second-half comeback against the Virginia Cavaliers to push the game into overtime and ultimately claiming victory in overtime, 68-63. This is now the Panthers’ third win in a row.
After the win, head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said, “Our players just continue to fight and never stop believing in each other for the entire game and players continue to make plays.
In reference to the big defensive play Suzie mentioned, Stasha Carey made a steal on a Virginia inbounds pass with 16 seconds remaining in the second half with Pittsburgh only trailing by one. She managed to get fouled and made one of the free throws to tie up the game 58-58. Carey ended up contributing 17 points along with nine rebounds and four blocks, the highest rebounds and blocks for the team.
Brianna Kiesel once again led the Panthers in scoring with a game-high 23. She also had six rebounds. Monica Wignot contributed another 8 rebounds. Chelsea Welch was the only other Panther to score double digits, a total of 11 points.
Overall, Pittsburgh shot 43.1% while Virginia only shot 34.8%.
For the Cavaliers, Sarah Imovbioh had a double-double, contributing 18 points. Only two other players were about to score double digits, Mikayla Venson with 11 points and Breyana Mason with 10 points.
Right away, Virginia put points on the board and took over the lead due to four Pittsburgh turnovers. For the majority of the rest of the game, Pittsburgh would trail behind. Walking into halftime, the Panthers only trailed the Cavaliers by 10, 30-20.
The second half the majority of the time had the same pattern as the first half, with Pittsburgh attempting to comeback and take over the lead. With 8:39 left in the second half, the Panthers trailed by 11, 49-38, and forced a timeout after a made jumper by Faith Randolph, but this would turn out to be the turning point of the game.
Pittsburgh started to pick up the offense. Though the team went on a 6-4 run, this still managed Virginia to take a time out with 5:03 on the clock. Five minutes was enough for the Panthers to go on a 14-5 run to tie up the game, pushing the game into overtime.
Though the Cavaliers initially had the lead first in overtime, Kiesel quickly responded with two made layups in a row, pushing Pittsburgh into the lead, the first time Pittsburgh claimed the lead the whole game, 62-61. Kiesel ultimately scored nine out of the 10 points in overtime, and Virginia never took back over the lead. Pittsburgh is now 2-0 for overtime this season.
With hopes of continuing with the winning run, the Panthers travel to New York this Sunday, February 22nd, to face ACC rival the Syracuse Orange, who is only one game ahead of Pittsburgh in the ACC standings for fifth place. Tip off is at noon.