EASTON, Pa. - Sophomore Linnel Macklin's shot from distance with 26 seconds remaining sealed Lafayette's third win of the season, a 68-65 upset of Pittsburgh. The Panthers came into the game with a 5-1 record, but the Leopards held the lead from the opening tip to the final buzzer for the victory.
Junior Kelly Loughney was the story for the Maroon and White as she recorded a career-high 18 points and added eight rebounds and a block. Sophomore Linnel Macklin also racked up a career-high 15 points and four steals, while classmate Brya Freeland added 11 points and four assists with no turnovers to control the offense.
The 68 points by the Leopards was their highest scoring output of the season as they shot 23-of-50 from the floor, a 46 percent clip, and 10-of-20 (50%) from the three-point arc. Macklin went 4-for-7 from distance, while Freeland was 3-for-8, freshman Jamie O'Hare went 2-for-4 and Loughney added the first three of her career.
Lafayette came out with a purpose, taking an 11-3 run into the initial media timeout. Freeland and Macklin both connected on shots from behind-the-arc in the early going and the Leopards switched up defenses, frustrating the Panthers offensively.
Coming out of the timeout, Lafayette's Jamie O'Hare got in on the action, knocking in two from downtown, her first multiple three-pointer game since the Penn State contest on Nov. 18. Macklin drained another as Lafayette took a 22-11 lead at the 11:03 mark.
Just before the media timeout two minutes later, Loughney drained a three from the top of the key while getting fouled. Loughney converted from the charity stripe to give the Leopards the 26-13 advantage with 9:13 showing.
Lafayette continued to play stout defense for the remainder of the half, going into the break holding a 38-26 lead. Loughney tallied 14 points in the opening stanza as the Leopards shot 54.5 percent going into the locker room.
Lafayette's play kept up to begin the second, holding a 45-34 lead into the 16-minute timeout. However, a three from Pittsburgh's Abby Dowd at the 12:56 mark forced a timeout from head coach Dianne Nolan, as the Panthers cut the lead to seven at 46-39.
Out of the timeout, though, Freeland came up with a long shot from distance to push the lead back to 10 and shift the momentum back in the Leopards favor.
Kiesel's three at the 9:40 mark again threatened the Leopards lead, as those three points cut the advantage to seven again at 54-47. Pitt's Ashlee Anderson then intercepted the inbounds pass for a run-out basket that forced another Nolan timeout.
Kiesel hit another from distance at the 6:40 mark to complete the comeback, tying the game at 54. Loughney took the lead back, though, as her up-and-under five-foot jumper put Lafayette on top, 56-54.
A drive and layup from sophomore Maddie Peabody extended the lead to three at the 4:51 mark, forcing a timeout from Pitt head coach Agnes Berenato. Out of the break, Pitt's Chyna Golden thought she had a lane to the hoop to make it a one-point game, but Fiacco had other ideas. She stuffed Golden's attempt out under the basket and ended the Panthers' possession.
With 2:25 on the clock, Peabody found Homan in the low block. Homan went to her left and pulled off a mini jump hook to push the lead to three. On the next possession, Macklin nailed a shot from behind-the-arc to take a 64-58 lead with 26 seconds remaining. Lafayette hit its free throws in the final moments and came away with the 68-65 triumph.
The Leopards move to 3-5 on the season and travel to Philadelphia, Pa. on Wednesday to take on the St. Joseph's Hawks at 7 p.m.
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