ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Pitt survived in The Pit.
Shavonte Zellous scored 21 points, Sophronia Sallard had 15 and Mallorie Winn hit a huge 3-pointer with 2:27 remaining to help Pittsburgh beat Wyoming 63-58 on Saturday in the NCAA's first round.Winn's shot put Pittsburgh (23-10) ahead for good in a seesaw contest that featured 12 ties and 10 lead changes."I was rushing my shots," said Winn, who missed her first four 3-point tries. "I felt that was the first good one I got off. I think people know I'm a 3-point shooter, so they know not to leave me open."The No. 6 seeded Panthers (23-10) held on despite a sluggish performance by standout center Marcedes Walker, who scored 11 of her 13 points in the second half but was slowed by foul trouble."I was pretty frustrated," Walker said. "But I knew my team was playing well, so I didn't show any emotion. It's not just about me."Pitt will meet No. 3 Baylor in the second round.Justyna Podziemska led the No. 11 seeded Cowgirls (24-7) with a season-high 23 points on 8-of-17 shooting while Jodi Bolerjack and Hanna Zavecz each scored 10. But Wyoming, making its first NCAA tournament appearance, just couldn't take over.Podziemska put the Cowgirls ahead 54-53 on a 3-pointer with 4:03 remaining, but no lead held much value in this nail-biter until Winn broke free at the other end and made a shot from the left corner."They always say if you're a shooter you keep putting it up," Winn said.Winn let it fly, despite an 0-for-5 effort from the floor up to that point."Mallorie really has a lot of confidence, and the team has a lot of confidence in her," Pitt coach Agnus Berenato said. "She could miss 10 in a row and I guarantee you that if she's open, she's still going to shoot the next one."From there, Pitt tightened the defense and held the Cowgirls without a field goal for 3 1/2 minutes down the stretch. Walker, Winn and Zellous made 5-of-6 down the stretch from the free throw line to put it away."There was a timeout with about three minutes left in the game," Winn said. "I told everyone, 'This could be the end of our season if we don't pick it up.' We made it a point to focus on 25 [Podziemska]."Bolerjack missed a 3-point try with 1:10 remaining, and she was unable to draw a foul despite contact with a defender. That possession could have gotten the Cowgirls within 58-57."That was a big miss," Wyoming coach Joe Legerski said. "We miss an open 3, a big shot. We could have closed it to a 1-point game with a minute to go, then Pitt stepped to the line and made free throws. That's how you close it out."The Cowgirls got a final chance after Zellous missed her only free throw in eight attempts with 25.7 seconds to go and Pitt leading 61-56. But Wyoming's Dominique Sisk was called for an offensive foul at the other end.The Cowgirls had plenty of support -- several thousand fans who made the 8-hour drive from Laramie, Wyo. Until Sisk's foul call, they raised the noise level nearly every time Wyoming made a run or a defensive stop."We played very confidently and like we had nothing to lose," Zavecz said. "They're a very talented team. You could tell they've been in situations like that before. They made a big play and we couldn't respond."Pitt struggled without Walker on the floor. She sat 12 minutes in the first half with foul trouble, then provided a spark by scoring seven of Pitt's first nine second-half points as the Panthers built a 39-36 lead.Fortunately for the Panthers, Sallard's 6-for-6 shooting kept them close."It was huge," Zellous said. "It helped that she was making shots while Marcedes was on the bench and Mallorie wasn't shooting well."