PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Junior Audrey Dotson opened the 2013-14 season with a bang, scoring 23 points and collecting 14 rebounds to register her fifth career double-double, but the Bucknell women’s basketball team fell, 66-51, to Pittsburgh in its season-opener at the Petersen Events Center on Friday morning. The Bison were strong on the glass from start to finish, battling the Panthers for every ball, but couldn’t fight their way back from an early deficit, falling to 0-1 on the young season.
Dotson, who also produced her fourth 20-point outing, led all players in rebounding and scoring, connecting on 9-of-14 from the field. Senior Shelby Romine had eight points and eight rebounds in 37 minutes of action, while three additional Bison scored their first collegiate points in the contest, the 1,000th in Bucknell women’s basketball history.
Brianna Kiesel and Asia Logan led the way for the Panthers, each tallying double digits in both scoring and rebounds to lift the squad to 1-0. Kiesel’s 20 points and 11 rebounds topped the stat sheet for Pitt, while Logan contributed 15 points and collected 10 rebounds. Loliya Briggs was 3-of-7 from beyond the arc, as she also added 15 points to the Panthers’ final score.
In spite of several flawlessly executed plays by the Bison, the Panthers jumped out to an early 16-6 lead on the backs of Kiesel and Logan. Freshman Claire DeBoer connected on a jumper at 14:27, the first of her collegiate career, to spark the Bucknell offense however, and Dotson sunk two from the free throw line to bring the squad within four.
Early foul trouble seemed to rattle the Panthers, allowing a strong Bison defense to hold them scoreless for several lengthy stretches, but the home team rallied back to score 11 unanswered points late in the half , building a 15-point lead with just over five minutes to play.
Bucknell refused to be defeated however, and Romine sunk two consecutive jumpers as the clock wound down, narrowing Pitt’s lead to 39-26 at halftime.
The Bison slashed the Panthers’ advantage even further in the opening minutes of the second half, as Dotson connected twice from the free throw line and junior Micki Impellizeri scored on an impressive drive through traffic to bring Bucknell within nine.
A Logan lay-up at 12:53 gave Pitt its biggest lead of the morning, a 57-35 advantage over Bucknell, but the Bison immediately went to work, holding the Panthers scoreless for almost four minutes, as sophomore Sheaira Jones and DeBoer each sunk shots to narrow the gap.
Dotson did her part to reel in the Panthers, scoring ten points in the final eight minutes of action, but the Bison rally fell just short, giving Pitt the 66-51 victory in the first NCAA basketball game of the 2013-14 season.
Bucknell was dynamic on the boards in the contest, holding a 59-38 rebounding advantage over Pitt. The Panthers shot 40.3 percent from the field, connecting on 27-of-67, while the Bison finished the game at 29.7 percent.
Bucknell returns to action at Sojka Pavilion for the first time this season, welcoming Binghamton to Lewisburg for a 7 p.m. contest on Thursday, Nov. 14.