Pitt women's basketball begins the 2012-13 season on
Saturday, Nov. 3 with an exhibition contest versus Lock Haven. The Panthers and Lady Eagles tip at noon at
the Petersen Events Center.
Head Coach Agnus Berenato, who begins her 10th
season at Pitt this fall, returns three starters including sophomore Brianna
The Big East All-Freshman team selection led the Panthers
in a host of categories last season, including scoring (13.6), assists (3.0)
and minutes per game (36.3). The Utica, N.Y., native -- along with redshirt
junior Abby Dowd and redshirt freshman Loliya Briggs -- was named team captain
Q: What's the
biggest change you've seen personally in your progress from the start of last
season to this preseason as you get ready for your second season in a Pitt
Kiesel: I think
my confidence level is a major difference. Last year I was coming in and was a
little shy and nervous and I didn't really know what I was coming in to, but
this year I have a lot more confidence. I don't necessarily know what's
expected, but I have a little better idea of what is to be expected.
Q: What do you
think is expected of you -- and what are you ready to deliver?
Kiesel: I have to
make sure I keep going and push everybody (on the floor). I have to make sure every
one of my teammates know the plays and to keep everyone informed on what's
going on; basically be like the middle man between the coaches and the players.
I am confident in my role at the point guard. I'm probably still not as vocal
as the coaches would like me to be, but it's a learning experience. I'm just trying
to get a little bit better each day.
Q: You along with
your teammates came from amazing high school programs; how tough was last
season as a player?
Kiesel: It was very
tough at times. I would think back to my freshman year of high school and we
struggled a lot. It took until my junior and senior years for us to be competitive,
so I tried to keep that in perspective that we were young and would grow from
the experience. Nobody was really used to having such a drought of a season. We
just weren't where we wanted to be, but I believe everyone learned and we
decided that last year was just that -- it would push us. We have to take that
and put it in for this year and hopefully we get it together.
Q: What's the
greatest lesson you learned from last season and what about it has prepared you
so many I can't even tell you one in particular. I learned so much between
watching everyone and listening to the coaches. I can't really give you one,
direct answer. I do think losing really
has pushed us to win; losing some big games where we should have won was
probably the most difficult part of last season. A couple of times where we
should have won I missed the game winners both times (Louisville and USF).
Those are tough breaks, especially for a freshman. For the coaches to give me
that opportunity and for me to fail; it was tough. I take a lot personally because that's just
the type of person I am. If we fail, the majority of it I put on me. I ask
myself, what could I have done to make it better?
Q: What are you
looking forward to the most as the season is getting ready to kick off?
looking forward to every game and coming in and everyone working hard. We have
so much more chemistry this year. We know each other a little better, like when
we're driving we drive and kick and a lot of people are open for that shot now
as compared to last year when we didn't really move out of the corner. We just
weren't in that right position for that pass and kick. We know our player personnel.
I'm just looking forward to seeing how everyone comes out and plays.
Q: You also have
a year under your belt experiencing our fine city. How have you adjusted to
Pittsburgh as a whole?
Pittsburgh is a great, great city. Over the summer I had a chance to go down to
Station Square and look over and see the boats. I went to the Regatta and did a
lot of different things. They were a lot of things I didn't really do last year
because I wasn't really familiar with the city, but now I'm a lot more
comfortable and really starting to love the city. And being from upstate New York I am used to
the weather. The hills, not so much -- but you have to get used to them
eventually. They don't ever change and they never get shorter (laughing).
Q: Does playing
your last year in the Big East also have a special meaning?
Kiesel: Yes. We
would like to go out on a high note, and I really think that with the people we
have now, us coming together and pulling through, I think we all want to end on
a high note leaving the Big East. I also think we have the best of both worlds.
I've gotten the opportunity and will have the chance to play in two of the best
conferences for women's basketball in the country in the Big East and the ACC.
Q: What's the
best part about being a member of the Pitt basketball team?
Kiesel: The best
part about being a part of Pitt basketball is definitely the family atmosphere.
We are all growing together and it's basically like we're growing up as a
family and doing it together. Everyone still has another year (to play
together) so we still have that time to grow even more together. We have a
great coaching staff; they're always there for you. You never get the sense of
being lonely because you always have so many people that are here.
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