March 9, 2008
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Marcedes Walker had 18 points and 13 rebounds, and Pittsburgh upset No. 9 Notre Dame 64-53 Saturday in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Tournament.
It was Walker’s 52nd double-double, the most by any player in the conference.
Xenia Stewart added 13 points, including a big 3-pointer with less than a minute left, for the Panthers (22-9).
Charel Allen had 17 points for Notre Dame (23-8).
The teams combined for 39 turnovers and neither shot better than 35 percent in a defensive struggle. The fourth-seeded Irish came in averaging more than 77 points per game.
Pitt trailed 35-30 early in the second half before going on an 11-2 run.
Allen led the Irish back, and they went up 49-48 with 3:08 left.
A layup by Walker with 1:36 remaining gave Pitt a 53-51 advantage. After Allen missed a jumper on the other end, Stewart hit a huge 3-pointer with 56 seconds left. The Panthers made their free throws down the stretch to earn the school’s first berth in the conference semifinals.
Pitt started slowly and the Irish went on 14-2 run to open the game. The Panthers had just two points and eight turnovers in the first 8 minutes. They hit just two of their first 19 shots, and didn’t score their second basket until almost the 10-minute mark of the first half when Stewart knocked down a short jumper.
Walker, who had 20 points and seven rebounds in Pitt’s first-round win over Villanova, picked up two early offensive fouls, but still had eight of Pittsburgh’s first 12 points.
She led the Panthers on a 15-3 run to tie the game at 17. Shavonte Zellous put back her own miss to pull the Panthers within 22-21 at the half.
Zellous, who came in averaging almost 19 points per game, went just 3-for-14 from the field.
Allen was 7-of-15 for Notre Dame, which shot just 30.6 percent for the game.
— ND —
POST GAME NOTES: Notre Dame bows out in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship for the fifth time in the past seven seasons … the Irish lose back-to-back games for just the second time all year … Notre Dame falls for the second time in three meetings vs. Pittsburgh, but still maintains a 17-2 series edge on the Panthers (1-1 in the BIG EAST Championship) … for the first time in 21 games this season, the Irish lost when leading at the half … Notre Dame continues to struggle at the XL Center, falling to 2-8 (.200) all-time in the building formerly known as the Hartford Civic Center … for only the third time in the past 47 games, Notre Dame was charged with 20+ turnovers … the Irish bench was outscored for the second consecutive game after that only happened once in the first 29 games this season … senior guard Charel Allen became the eighth player in school history to score 1,500 points, getting her milestone basket on a jumper with 3:08 left that gave Notre Dame a 49-48 lead … Allen also tied her career high with three blocks, first reaching that total vs. South Florida on March 4, 2006 in the first round of the BIG EAST Championship in Hartford … Notre Dame now will await the announcement of the 64-team field for this year’s NCAA Tournament, with that bracket set to be unveiled on St. Patrick’s Day (Monday, March 17) at 7 p.m. (ET) live on ESPN.