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Virginia falls to Pitt, 68-63

Cavaliers give up double digit lead to lose in double overtime

The Virginia women’s basketball team led for over 39 minutes against Pittsburgh but could not close out to lose its fourth straight game, 68-63 Thursday night at the Petersen Events Center.

The Cavaliers (15-11, 5-8 ACC) took an early 6-0 lead after Pitt (18-8, 8-5 ACC) turned the ball over three times in the opening two and a half minutes. The Cavaliers also ended the half on a 9-2 run to extend their lead and take a 30-20 lead into the intermission.

Virginia made all seven of their free throws while scoring eight points off Pitt’s 10 turnovers in the first half. The Cavaliers also held the Panthers’ leading scorer, senior point guard Brianna Kiesel to just four points in the first half.

After a layup by senior center Sarah Imovbioh started the second half scoring, the Panthers reeled off eight straight points, including six from Kiesel. Virginia freshman guard Mikayla Venson entered the point guard battle and scored six of her own to help Virginia regain its double-digit lead. Kiesel also went eight minutes without scoring until her layup brought Virginia’s lead down to nine with 9:25 left in the game.

With 9:25 remaining, Virginia’s guards took over again to score the Cavaliers’ next eight points, but after a jumper by freshman guard Aliyah Huland El at the 5:47 mark, Virginia would not make a basket again until the last 13 seconds of overtime. The Cavaliers’ missed their last seven shots in regulation and didn’t attempt a possible game-winning shot with the scored tied 58-58 in the dying seconds of the second half. The Cavaliers had 11 turnovers in the second half, including six in the last 5:02.

Kiesel scored eight of her team’s 10 overtime points and finished with 23 points to lead her team over Virginia in extra time. Freshman forward Stasha Carey added 17 points, including the game-tying free throw at the end of the second half, for the Panthers. Imovbioh led Virginia with 18 points and 18 rebounds but fouled out with 1:44 remaining in overtime with her team down four.

The Panthers finished with 14 more points in the paint than the Cavaliers and had nine more assists. The Cavaliers did win the rebounding battle and scored 12 second-chance points to the Panthers’ four, but neither team shot particularly well from beyond the arc.

The Cavaliers return home on Sunday to face Virginia Tech.