For the Pitt women’s basketball team, positive momentum has been tough to capture over the past couple of years.
The Panthers let another chance slip Monday night with a 77-66 loss to Georgia Tech in an ACC game at Petersen Events Center.
Pitt (10-12, 2-6) had a chance to start its first conference winning streak since 2011 after a dramatic last-second win Thursday against Boston College, but couldn’t keep up as the Yellow Jackets (14-8, 4-5) pulled away at the end of the first half and never looked back.
“Sometimes I feel like a broken record,” Pitt coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said. “It just seems to come down to the same thing of just not being efficient enough on the offensive end, knocking down shots and capitalizing on opportunities.”
Once again, the Panthers let the game get away from them late in the first half when they went on a prolonged offensive drought. The Panthers played Georgia Tech close early in the first half and were within two with less than seven minutes to go until halftime.
At that point, though, the Yellow Jackets ripped off an 16-2 run capped off by a jumper from Tyaunna Marshall, who finished with 23 points to lead all scorers.
Georgia Tech went into halftime with a 43-30 lead and Pitt never threatened in the second half.
McConnell-Serio attributed the offensive stagnation to trouble getting her bench players in sync once the starters have to come off the floor.
“I know our starters can’t play 40 minutes,” McConnell-Serio said. “We start the game well and as soon as we start a rotation things start to break down.
“It’s trying to get that chemistry on the floor that we don’t skip a beat once we start to sub.”
The Panthers faced a similar double-digit deficit in the second half against Boston College, but put together enough offensive possessions to pull off the comeback.
Against Georgia Tech, the offensive production just wasn’t there. Pitt shot 32.4 percent from the field and was 5 of 20 on 3-point shots.
The Yellow Jackets, meanwhile, found easy baskets in transition and outscored the Panthers, 42-32, in the paint.
“I thought we had to keep the game in the 60s for us to have a chance,” McConnell-Serio said. “We’re not a team that puts 80 points on the board on a regular basis.”
The one Panthers player who benefited from the faster pace was guard Marquel Davis, who finished with a team-high 20 points.
McConnell-Serio said that, watching Georgia Tech on film, she thought it might be a game for Davis to shine with her ability to score in transition.
“I thought she was terrific,” McConnell-Serio said.
Unfortunately, she was just about the only one finding the basket.
Point guard Brianna Kiesel and guard Asia Logan, Pitt’s two leading scorers, combined to shoot 6 of 24 from the field for 24 points.
Pitt returns to action Thursday with a road game at No. 10 Maryland.
Sam Werner: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @SWernerPG First Published February 3, 2014 9:03 PM