Panther Women Earn Key AMCC Win

Photo credit to Erika Helo.
Photo credit to Erika Helo.

Ali Rinfrette and Brittany Watts each scored more than 20 points apiece, and Pitt-Bradford women's basketball used a huge fourth-quarter push to defeat Medaille, 79-75, Wednesday night.

The two teams entered the contest tied for second in the AMCC standings with records of 9-5, and with the win, the Panthers move into sole possession of a first-round bye in the conference tournament with three games remaining.

It was a close affair throughout, even in the final minutes after Pitt-Bradford had built a 16-point lead with 4:22 left in the game. The Mavericks stormed back, creating turnovers with their pressure and taking advantage of missed free throws to close the gap to two with six seconds left.

The score was tied at 53 after three quarters, as the first 30 minutes featured 11 lead changes. Rinfrette scored on the Panthers' first possession of the final quarter, and Pitt-Bradford was off and running.

Her three with 6:17 remaining stretched Pitt-Bradford's advantage to nine, and Watts scored on four straight trips to make it 70-54, capping a game-changing 17-1 run. Medaille rallied, regrouping to slice the deficit in half with less than 90 seconds left.

The Mavericks scored in transition following a Pitt-Bradford turnover to pull within 75-69, and the Panthers made matters worse by missing four of their next six free throw attempts. MarceAnn Dunning hit a running jumper in the lane with six seconds left to make it 77-75, forcing Pitt-Bradford to call its final timeout.

Senior Darien Lantz was fouled on the inbounds play, and she calmly sank two free throws to ice the game. Pitt-Bradford only outscored the visitors 26-22 in the final quarter despite Medaille going the first seven-plus minutes without a field goal.

The Panthers hit on 45 percent of their field goals attempts and connected for seven threes, yet were 14-25 from the line. Medaille shot 41 percent from the floor and forced Pitt-Bradford into 23 turnovers. The Blue and Gold outrebounded the Mavericks by six and scored 15 second-chance points.

Rinfrette finished with a double-double of 23 points and 14 rebounds, and Watts, who was 10-13 from the field, totaled 21 points and 10 rebounds. Shirleah Ragin added 12 points, and Kaserra Owens chipped in with nine. Lantz and Ragin had three steals apiece, and Lantz tallied five assists.

Pitt-Bradford improves to 13-9 on the season and hits the road Saturday for a tough-test at Penn State Behrend. Tipoff is slated for 6 p.m.