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Pittsburgh falls hard to No. 10 Maryland 94-46
In the wake of Thursday night’s lopsided defeat, however, McConnell-Serio found absolutely nothing good to say about her team’s performance.
“The bottom line is we just didn’t compete,” the coach declared. “They’re just across the board stronger, more athletic, more physical, quicker. I thought we could have done a better job in a lot of areas offensively and defensively. For whatever reason we just struggled at both ends of the floor, which was frustrating and disappointing at the same time.”
The Panthers led only once, 5-4 on a driving layup by Brianna Kiesel. Pittsburgh (10-13, 2-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) went scoreless for the next seven minutes while Maryland rang up 17 straight points. Lexi Brown contributed a jumper and a 3-pointer to the run as the Terrapins made nine of their first 12 field-goal attempts.
It never got better for Pittsburgh, which shot only 31 percent from the floor and was outrebounded 47-30. Sure, it was against the 10th-ranked team in the nation, but Maryland wasn’t entirely responsible for the Panthers’ inept outing.
“We go 5-of-15 from the free throw line. They have nothing to do with that,” McConnell-Serio said. “It just was a struggle.”
Loliya Briggs led Pittsburgh with 10 points. Kiesel, who came in averaging 17.5 points a game, was limited to five on 2-for-8 shooting. It was the first time in 29 games she failed to score in double figures.
Thomas had 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for Maryland (18-4, 6-3) before sitting out the final 12 minutes.
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored 13 and freshman Brionna Jones added 12 to help Maryland secure a second straight win following a three-game skid.
“I really liked how hard we played from start to finish,” coach Brenda Frese said. “We never played the score. I thought we got better tonight.”
After using a 17-point blitz to take control in the first half, the Terrapins scored the first 16 points after halftime to take a 61-21 lead. Briggs interrupted the run with a 3-pointer for Pittsburgh, and Maryland responded with another 12 points to make it 73-24.
Before taking a seat on the bench, Thomas moved into sole possession of third place on the school’s career list with 2,097 points. Only Marissa Coleman (2,205) and Crystal Langhorne (2,247) have scored more in a Maryland uniform.
“She impressive in transition, whether she’s getting the rebound and leading the break with a ball in her hand or she’s out in the open floor at the receiving end,” McConnell-Serio said. “She can post players up. She just creates so many mismatches.”
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