Second Pittsburgh game ends like first for women

The women’s team let another conference victory slip through its hands against the Pittsburgh Panthers in a 60-58 loss Saturday night. Despite having three possessions to win the game in the last minute, the Bulls couldn’t come up with the big shot and suffered their first loss to an unranked opponent this season.

USF held a 55-46 lead with 8:01 remaining in the second half and was in control of the contest. Pittsburgh, however, made a 12-3 run to tie the game at 58 with 51 seconds remaining.

Junior guard Jessica Dickson missed a three-point shot, Rachel Sheats missed a lay-up, and freshman guard Shantia Grace’s three-point shot was wide as time ran out.

“It’s important to win at home in this league,” coach Jose Fernandez said.

The loss was USF’s fourth this season by two points or less. Nearly half of the Bulls’ losses this season have been by that margin. The women’s team lost 66-65 to then-No. 10-ranked Rutgers, lost 89-87 to Cincinnati and the 66-64 loss to Pittsburgh in their first meeting.

“We can’t get frustrated at this time of the season,” Fernandez said. “We have to bounce back and get ready for our next opponent.”

Saturday night’s loss was very much like the first meeting between the two teams. In that game, Malorie Winn hit a running jump shot with four seconds remaining to sink the Bulls. Winn hit a 15-foot jump shot in Saturday’s meeting to beat the Bulls yet again.

In the first meeting, the Bulls allowed 19 offensive rebounds and a plethora of extra offensive possessions for Pittsburgh. On Saturday, the Panthers grabbed 14 offensive rebounds and outrebounded the Bulls 44-36.

“Rebounding is all effort, and we need our perimeter players to help out,” Fernandez said. “We aren’t doing a good job fighting for rebounds.”

Dickson finished the game with 23 points and five rebounds, and Grace added 16 points and three steals. Grace, who is second in the Big East in assists, was held without an assist in the loss.