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Pitt women extend Big East streak of futility

| Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, 9:27 p.m.

The opponents may change, but the results stay the same for the Pitt women's basketball team.

Losers of 31 consecutive regular-season Big East games, Pitt entered Wednesday's game against Cincinnati with one of its best chances of snapping the skid. But the Panthers never managed a lead, were tied just once and lost, 59-50, at Petersen Events Center.

“(We) shot 34 percent,” coach Agnus Berenato said. “We can't compete with teams. Cincinnati shot 43 (percent). I thought we had really great spurts, then we went through seven-minute periods where we didn't score, and those are daggers.”

Until last week, the Bearcats were the only team in the Big East besides the Panthers still looking for their first conference win. A victory over Marquette on Feb. 13 took care of that, however, and the teams met with a combined 1-22 conference record.

Pitt's last regular-season Big East win came Feb. 15, 2011, against Providence.

Sophomore guard Brianna Kiesel led all scorers with 24 points and added five rebounds and three assists. Junior Marquel Davis had 14 points and eight rebounds.

Pitt had just 13 turnovers, their lowest since turning the ball over 12 times against Marquette on Jan. 19, but Cincinnati scored 21 points off their turnovers and outscored the Panthers' injury-depleted bench, 19-2.

Pitt trailed at halftime, 25-16, but closed to within 27-24. Davis, though, missed a pair of free throws, the Panthers turned over the ball three times and missed their next five shots.

Cincinnati led, 46-28, before the Panthers put up one last fight. Kiesel hit a pair of free throws, then a 3-pointer to make it 48-33 with 4:05 remaining. Kiesel cut the lead to 51-44 with 1:50 left, but Cincinnati went 6 of 6 from the free-throw line down the stretch.

“We played really hard the last two and half minutes. It's just hard when you're already down to come back with only two and half minutes to go,” Kiesel said.

Baltimore Ravens receiver Torrey Smith, a high school friend of Davis', was at the game.

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at kprice@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.

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