Freshman forward Brenna Wise scored a game-high 25 points, including six in overtime, and sophomore guard Aysia Bugg added 20 to lead 12th-seeded Pittsburgh to an 82-72 victory over North Carolina in the first round of the ACC women’s basketball tournament on Wednesday in the Greensboro Coliseum.
Freshman guard Stephanie Watts led UNC with 20 points, and sophomore guard Jamie Cherry had 18, including a clutch 3-pointer from 25 feet with a 10th of a second left in regulation to force overtime.
The extra session was all Pitt, though. The Panthers scored the first seven points, with sophomore center Stasha Carey hitting a 3-pointer and then posting up for a basket. A fast-break layup by Yacine Diop prompted a UNC timeout with 3:07 remaining.
Wise, who was 12-of-13 at the free throw line, put the game away with seven straight points to expand the lead to 80-70.
Pitt closed the second quarter with a 13-0 run to go up 41-33 by halftime. But the Panthers went 1-of-13 from the field in the third quarter. UNC rallied from a 43-33 deficit, closing the quarter with a 9-0 run over the final 2:44 to tie the score at 47 entering the fourth quarter. Watts had five points in the run for UNC.
The 13th seed was UNC’s lowest ever in the tournament. The Tar Heels hadn’t gone winless in the ACC tournament since an 83-77 loss as the eighth seed to ninth-seeded Maryland in 2010.
Pitt (13-17) will play fifth-seeded Miami (22-7) in Thursday’s second round at 11 a.m. It was the first victory for the Panthers in three tries in the ACC Tournament but their third consecutive win in as many outings against UNC (14-18) since joining the league.