Third Quarter Resurgence Powers Panthers Past La Roche

Photo by Erika Helo
Photo by Erika Helo

PITTSBURGH – The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford used a powerful third quarter to earn a 79-62 comeback win at La Roche Saturday in an Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference game.

"We came out flat in the first half, but after halftime, we were all checked in," Head Coach Sharay Hall said. "Everyone stepped up and we finished strong as a team."

Down 36-28 at halftime, the Panthers used a third-quarter resurgence to regain the lead, outscoring La Roche 22-8 in the period.

Ali Rinfrette led all scorers with 26 points.

Jennifer Isenberg earned a double-double of 14 points and 18 rebounds. Isenberg's rebounding performance is a career-high for her and the most in a single game for the program since Madison Krebs grabbed 20 on Feb. 3, 2013, at Hilbert.

Bri Wells dropped a career-high 17 points to score in double-figures as well.

With the win, the Panthers improve to 6-5 in AMCC play and sit in fifth place in the conference.

Both teams' offenses were clicking out of the gate, as La Roche eventually held a 22-14 advantage at the end of the high scoring opening period.

Down 13 points, 19-6, the Panthers put together an 8-0 run to cut the lead to just five points with 10 seconds left in the first.

But three points during the closing seconds for La Roche extended its lead before the second quarter.

The two teams put together an even third quarter of 14 points apiece.

Down 17 points with three minutes left in the half, the Panthers went on a 10-1 run down the final stretch of the half highlighted by a three-pointer from Shaelyn Snipes, and La Roche took a 36-28 advantage into the half.

But the Pitt-Bradford offense awoke for 22 points in the third quarter while the defense stifled La Roche to just eight points in the third quarter to power the Panthers' resurgence.

The Panthers scored the first six points of the half as Rinfrette, Isenberg and Wells earned three quick buckets to erase the La Roche advantage.

A made free throw from Isenberg gave Pitt-Bradford the lead just three minutes into the second half.

Rinfrette knocked down a three-ball with 29 seconds left in the quarter to put the Panthers up by as many as nine.

Three free throws from La Roche before the buzzer sent the two teams into the closing quarter with Pitt-Bradford ahead, 50-44.

Rinfrette and Isenberg powered the third-quarter comeback, as Rinfrette scored nine points in the quarter and Isenberg dropped six. Combined, the duo shot 5-5 from the floor.

The fourth quarter was much of the same offensively for the Panthers as the team put up 29 points to hold off La Roche.

Early on, though, the Redhawks pulled back to within five, 55-50, three minutes into the period.

But an and-one from Rinfrette out of a Panthers' timeout extended the Pitt-Bradford lead to 58-50 with just over six minutes to play. 

With the Panthers up 65-56 with 2:44 to play, Allison Guengerich knocked down a three-ball from the top of the key to extend the Panther lead to 12 points and put the game out of reach.

Adams was crucial to the team's strong fourth quarter, playing all 10 minutes and scoring six of her nine total points while going 3-3 shooting in the final frame.

Pitt-Bradford hit its free throws down the stretch and iced the game to earn the 79-62 victory.

The Panthers outscored the Redhawks 51-26 in the second half and held La Roche to 34.6 percent shooting on just nine made field goals in the two closing quarters.

Pitt-Bradford made 15 field goals in the second half and shot 57.7 percent from the floor.

Isenberg's 18 rebounds were split evenly, nine offensive and nine defensive boards. As a team, the Panthers grabbed 22 offensive boards to help them earn 12 second-chance points.

In addition to her scoring output, Rinfrette grabbed seven boards, five steals and dished out four assists. 

Wells went 5-10 from the field and knocked down 7-10 free throws, including five in the fourth quarter.

Pitt-Bradford forced 23 La Roche turnovers while only turning the ball over 14 times itself. The Redhawks had six turnovers each in the first three quarters. 

Up next, the Panthers will return home and put conference play on hold as they welcome Alfred State Wednesday.