Nov. 18, 2011
PITTSBURGH - After trailing by 21 points with 3:38 remaining, the Loyola University Maryland women’s basketball team came as close as three with 28 seconds left, but fell just short in their comeback bid as Pittsburgh held off the Greyhounds for a 65-59 win at the Petersen Events Center on Friday morning.
The Panthers (2-1, 0-0 BIG EAST) built a 21-point lead after going on a 19-3 in the middle of the second half, grabbing a 59-38 advantage with less than four minutes remaining in the game.
The Greyhounds (1-2, 0-0 MAAC) responded by scoring 21 of the game’s next 24 points to close within three at 62-59 with under 30 seconds left.
Pitt freshman guard Brianna Kiesel hit two key free-throws to stretch the lead to five with 26 seconds to playand a stop by the Panthers on the ensuing possession iced the game for the home team.
Freshman guard Kara Marshall led Loyola with 19 points in her first career start, going 6-for-12 from the floor and handing out two assists. Miriam McKenzie added 16 points while Alyssa Sutherland had 10 points and seven rebounds.
Katie Sheahin was key on the defensive end with a career-high eight steals along with two blocks and nine rebounds. It was Sheahin’s eighth career game with seven or more steals and moved her into seventh on Loyola’s all-time list with 187 in her career.
Pitt was led by Marquel Davis, who finished with 17 points, scoring 15 in the second half. Kyra Dunn added a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Pittsburgh scored 19 of the final 23 points of the first half to take a 32-20 lead at halftime. Dunn and Abby Dowd led the Panthers with eight points apiece as Pitt shot 43.8-percent (14-for-32) from the floor and scored 15 points off 12 Loyola turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
Loyola jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead over the first two minutes of the contest, forcing Pitt to take an early timeout. Marshall had five points during the stretch, hitting a three to start the game and capping the run with a driving lay-up. Marshall finished with five points in the first half while McKenzie led the Greyhounds with six at the break.
Pittsburgh chopped into Loyola’s lead with four-straight points from Davis and Dunn, but a layup by Sutherland put the Greyhounds on top 9-4 at the first media timeout with 15:19 remaining. Sutherland had four points and five rebounds in the first half.
The Panthers drew even at 13 after Dowd knocked down a 3-pointer with 13:19 left in the first half. But Loyola responded on the next possession when freshman Nai Brown scored her first collegiate points with a three of her own, giving the Greyhounds their last lead at 16-13 at the 12:45 mark of the first half.
The Greyhounds struggled offensively for the remainder of the half, hitting two more field goals over the final 12 minutes. Loyola finished shooting 30.8-percent (8-for-26) from the field in the frame.
Loyola jumped on the Panthers to start the second half just as they did in the first, scoring the first eight points to cut the Pitt lead to 32-28 after a pair of McKenzie free throws. Loyola was aggressive to start the second half, shooting six free throws in the first four minutes after taking two in the entire first half. Sutherland hit a pair, while Marshall also knocked down two to go along with a driving left-handed lay-up during the run.
Pitt built the lead back to ten after a three-point play by Ashlee Anderson and a 3-pointer by Dowd put the lead at 38-28. The Greyhounds answered quickly, hitting 3’s on back-to-back possessions, with Sheahin hitting the first and McKenzie knocking down the second to cut the deficit to four with 13:04 left.
Davis led the Panthers on a 21-4 run over the next 10 minutes of action, helping Pitt build a 21-point lead with less than four minute remaining with the score at 59-38. Davis had 15 points in that stretch including eight-straight at one point.
Loyola continued to fight scoring 21 of the game’s next 24 points to make it a one possession game at 62-59 with 28 seconds left. The Greyhounds did it on the defensive end, making six steals during the scoring spurt with Sheahin collecting three. Marshall had nine points to lead the offense during the run.
The game became interesting in the closing minute. After a Marshall steal and score brought Loyola within six with 35 seconds left, Loyola trapped Kiesel in the corner on the press. Kiesel called a timeout, but the Panthers had none remaining resulting in a technical foul.
McKenzie calmly hit both free throws to cut the deficit to 62-58 with 30 seconds left. Sutherland was fouled on the ensuing in-bound pass and made one-of-two at the line to bring the Greyhounds within three.
But Pitt was able to hold off the furious Loyola comeback, as Kiesel hit a pair of free throws with 26 seconds left and the Panthers earned a defensive stop on the next possession to ice the game.
The Greyhounds return home to host local rival UMBC on Tuesday, November 22 at 7 p.m. in the team’s final game before Thanksgiving break.