STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Marcedes Walker dominated in the lane and scored 16 points, and Xenia Stewart also had 16 as Pittsburgh (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 AP) pulled away in the second half for an 85-68 win over Charlotte on Friday in the WBCA Classic.
The 6-foot-3 Walker was a tough matchup inside for Charlotte (0-1) with her bullish play as the Panthers (1-0) won after opening the season ranked in the AP Top 25 for the first time in school history.Pitt led 34-33 at the half but used a 22-7 run to open the second half to take control.Walker converted a weakside rebound, then later put a quick move around Charlotte's Danielle Burgin for a layup to give Pitt a 41-35 lead. Walker let out a yell and pumped her fist as she celebrated along the baseline.Stewart's 3-pointer with 11:49 left capped the run to gave the Panthers a 56-40 advantage. Charlotte never got closer than eight the rest of the way.Burgin had 12 points and 12 rebounds, while Sabrina Gregory had a team-high 18 points for the 49ers, who lost in the debut of new head coach Karen Aston.The Panthers hope their climb into the college basketball spotlight continues this season under fifth-year coach Agnus Bernato. Pitt won a school-record 24 games last season after getting just six in Bernato's first season in 2003-4.