Pitt women lose to No. 2 Irish 73-47

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Notre Dame \'s Skylar Diggins, right, is fouled by Pittsburgh\'s Loliya Briggs (1) as she shoots in the first half of their NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)


PITTSBURGH (AP) — Suffering through another tough season in the Big East, Pittsburgh is trying to find positives in losses.

The Panthers, who have lost 23 straight conference games, only trailed No. 2 Notre Dame by six at the half before falling 73-47 on Wednesday night.

Last time they played, Notre Dame won by 76 points — the worst loss in Pitt history.

"We left it all on the court," said Brianna Kiesel, who led the Panthers with 12 points. "The stats don't show it, but we really played hard. I'm not going to hang my head. Notre Dame's a good team, but for the most part I think we did alright. We did so much better than last year. We're so much more mature and we executed, for the most part. This is a stepping stone for us."

Pitt (9-9, 0-5 Big East) was without leading scorer Asia Logan, who averages 15.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game for the Panthers but is day-to-day with a shoulder injury. The Panthers haven't won a regular season Big East game since Feb. 15, 2011.

Kayla McBride scored 19 points to help the Irish extend their winning streak to 12 games. Jewell Loyd added 14 points while Skylar Diggins had 13 — all in the first half.

With the game tied at 29, Notre Dame scored the final six points before break. The Irish continued the spurt in the second half, scoring 25 of the first 28 points.

Notre Dame (17-1, 6-0 Big East) led 60-32 with 10 minutes left and coasted from there. The Irish held Pitt to just 23.1 percent from the field (6-of-26) in the half.

"We played defense," Diggins said of the difference between the first and second halves. "We stepped up our intensity. I think we were passive in the first half, especially when I got in foul trouble. But we picked up the pressure and rebounded and got out in transition."

Notre Dame jumped out to a 5-0 lead and Pitt coach Agnus Berenato called a timeout less than a minute into the game.

Trailing 16-5, the Panthers went on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to four with 12:38 remaining in the first half. Notre Dame went back ahead by eight on a layup by Pittsburgh native Madison Cable and another layup by Loyd, but the Panthers answered back with a 9-2 run and McGraw called timeout with her team ahead just 22-21 with 8:43 remaining.

Coming out of the timeout, Marquel Davis hit a layup and Cora McManus a 3-pointer to give Pittsburgh its first lead of the game, 25-22.

"We knew we weren't going to lay down," Kiesel said. "We started to buckle down and run our sets and started to knock down our open shots."

Diggins' 3-pointer tied the score and the Panthers missed their next six shots as Notre Dame went back ahead by four. Pittsburgh would tie it once more at 29 with 3:07 remaining in the half before Notre Dame closed with its 6-0 run.