PITTSBURGH — Clemson suffered its first loss of the season on Sunday. The Pittsburgh Panthers outscored the Tigers 31-10 in the fourth quarter and came away with an 80-71 win at the Petersen Events Center.
Offensively, Clemson (6-1, 1-1) and Pittsburgh (3-2, 1-1) were rather evenly matched on the afternoon. The Tigers shot 39.7 percent from the field, and the Panthers compiled a shooting percentage of 43.8. Clemson connected on five 3-point attempts and made 12 free throws, while Pitt made six threes and 18 free throws. The Tigers finished with 39 rebounds, including 18 offensive boards, and 30 points in the paint. They also tallied 18 assists, 24 bench points and 23 points off Pitt’s 20 turnovers. The Panthers benefited from 43 rebounds and 20 fast break points.
Gabby Elliott and Amari Robinson commandeered the Clemson offense with 17 points apiece. Elliott went 7-of-14 on shot attempts and grabbed four rebounds. Robinson was an efficient 8-for-10 from the field and pulled down a team-high eight boards. Kendall Spray knocked down a pair of shots from beyond the arc and finished with seven points, six rebounds and three assists. Despite fouling out, Pitt’s Dayshanette Harris led all players with 21 points to go along with her five assists.
In the first quarter, 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions by Weronika Hipp and Kendall Spray put the Tigers ahead 11-9. Hipp, who assisted on Spray’s trey, proceeded to make it three straight possessions with a three-ball, increasing Clemson’s lead to 14-9. That was all part of a 12-0 Clemson run, and the Tigers used that surge to take a 22-15 advantage into the second quarter. Amari Robinson capped off the first period by banking in a shot at the buzzer. Clemson outscored Pitt 18-14 in the second quarter, going on a 16-9 run over the final 7:53 of the first half. Late in the quarter, Nique Cherry converted a steal into points by passing to Gabby Elliott in the fast break, which resulted in a layup.
The Tigers’ 11-point halftime lead increased to 14 points when Destiny Thomas drained a three at the 6:58 mark of the third quarter. The Panthers were held without a field goal for the final 3:06 of the period, and Clemson sported a 61-49 advantage at the start of the fourth quarter. Pittsburgh’s offense came alive down the stretch, though, as the Panthers went on a 13-0 run during the final 3:20 of the game and pulled off an 80-71 come-from-behind win.
Clemson will now turn its attention to the Florida State Seminoles (2-0, 1-0), who are scheduled to battle the Tigers on Thursday, Dec. 17. Marking the first home ACC matchup of the season for the Tigers, the contest at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson, S.C., will tip off at 7 p.m. and air on ACC Network Extra.
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Head Coach Amanda Butler
Opening statement:“We just did a poor job of finishing the game. You’re supposed to finish the game with good defense and good rebounding. It was a combination of not playing tough, determined defense, like we did in the previous three quarters. We played tentatively. Pitt finished with 18 offensive rebounds. We’re a really good defensive team, but giving up 31 points in a quarter has to be close to a record of some sort.”
On the keys to the game:“We got some really good looks but were undisciplined with shot selection at times. It was a really physical ballgame, and that’s fine. We should’ve been able to handle the physicality in the paint better. We didn’t do a good enough job of knocking down open shots.”