PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The University of Florida women’s basketball team had
expectations of being a solid outside shooting team when the season
began, however, the Gators didn’t find their shot until very late Friday
evening, as they missed their first 12 from the three-point arc and dug
themselves a hole they couldn’t dig out of and lost to Pittsburgh,
81-58, in the Petersen Events Center.
The Gators (1-2) actually heated up to hit 7-of-25 (28 percent) from
long range and 21-of-59 (35.6 percent) overall, playing even ball in the
Pittsburgh (2-0), ranked No. 25 in the ESPN-USA Today Coaches Poll and
receiving votes in the Associated Press rankings, shot 46.9 percent from
the floor during the night, including a 7-of-15 effort from the
three-point arc, with all seven makes coming during the decisive first
Florida missed all 12 of its three-point shots from beyond the arc
during the first half and connected on just 30 percent overall, while
Pitt nailed 7-of-13 from long range, 17-of-34 overall, as the Panthers
assumed a commanding 43-20 half time lead.
Taneisha Harrison accounted for 20 of her career-high 25 points in the
first-half for Pitt, which scored 11 points off of eight turnovers in
the opening frame. The undersized Gators did hold their own on the
boards in the first 20 minutes, trailing just 21-20.
For the first nine and half minutes, the Gators battled hard, answering
every Panther run with one of their own. With Pitt holding a 14-10 lead,
Jennifer George (Orlando, Fla.) sank a pair of free throws and Susan
Yenser (Marietta, Ga.) canned an eight-footer from the side to tied the
score at 14-all with 10:34 remaining in the first half.
That’s when Pitt ripped off a 12-0 run over the next five-plus minutes
and took a 26-14 lead. Ndidi Madu (Antioch, Tenn.) halted the spree with
a jumper in the paint at the 5:04 mark, but Jania Sims came right back
with a 3-pointer. Trumae Lucas (Greensboro, N.C.) followed with a
floating layup on a nice assist from Jordan Jones (Suwanee, Ga.), but
again Pitt answered with six straight points, before Jones could hit a
14-footer for the Gators with 2:27 on the clock. Those were the last
points of the half for Florida, as Pitt closed the period scoring the
last eight to take the 23-point lead.
“We had a lot of problems tonight and one was our effort. It was
disappointing from the beginning,” UF head coach Amanda Butler said.
“Our shots didn’t fall and we didn’t prepare well enough on all
fronts and Pitt just kicked our butt.
“The missed shots were certainly a problem, but when Pitt can score 43
points in the first 20 minutes of play, it’s a bigger problem because
we’ve experience a game already when our shots haven’t fallen and we
were able to count on our defense. Tonight we couldn’t do that at all,”
Pitt scored the first five points of the second half, quelling any
energy the Gators may have generated in the locker room.
Jones, who tallied a four-point play with 8:40 remaining in the game,
scored 12 of her 14 points in the second half, while adding five assists
and two steals in 31 minutes of action. Yenser added 11 points and
Sharielle Smith (Bradenton, Fla.) tallied 10 points on 3-of-3 shooting
for the Gators, who were outscored 38-14 in the paint.
“I felt like we had two good days of preparation, but clearly I was
wrong and we will correct that,” Butler said. “I don’t think that we
were ready to come in here and compete on someone else’s home floor. Our
first road game and we didn’t have the right mentality or the right
Pitt led by as many as 39 points midway through the second half, but the
Gators never gave up and dropped the final deficit to 23 points.
“We have to figure out who wants to fight and who wants to battle,”
Butler added. “We saw some good things from some of our young players.
They got out there and hustled. They took advantage of their time on the
floor, but we’re not going to beat a team like Pitt with four freshmen
on the floor.”
Harrison’s 25 points led five Panthers in double-figure scoring, with
Jania Sims adding 16 and Chelsea Cole tallying 10 points and 11
The Gators return to action on Tuesday, Nov. 24, when they play host to
UAB in the O’Connell Center beginning at 4:30 p.m. The game is the first
of four UF basketball doubleheaders this season, with the Gator men’s
team hosting Florida State at 7 p.m.
Tuesday’s game will air live on the radio at WBXY-FM 99.5 in
Gainesville, as well as through the internet at www.GatorZone.com, which
also will provide live streaming video of the game.