March 26, 2014
PITTSBURGH – The 2013-2014 Pitt women’s basketball season was a season of firsts for the program. It marked the school’s inaugural season competing in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Suzie McConnell-Serio’s first season as head coach, the first time in two years the team won a conference game and Brianna Kiesel became the first player in program history to win the USBWA National Player of the Week and ACC Player of the Week honor.
Overall, Pitt finished with a record of 11-20 and 3-13 in conference play. The Panthers completed the season 6-9 at home and 4-8 on the road with a 1-3 record on neutral courts.
After winning the first two games of the year against Bucknell and Ball State, the Panthers split the next eight games and had a 6-4 record heading into the ‘Duel in the Desert’ tournament in Las Vegas, Nev. While in Vegas, the Panthers defeated Louisiana-Monroe and lost closely contested games to Sweet 16 participant DePaul and the Pac-12’s Washington. Once the Panthers returned home, they beat inner-city rival Duquesne 67-57 in the ‘City Game,’ which marked the first time McConnell-Serio coached against her former team and also Pitt’s first win against the Dukes in four tries.
After completing the non-conference portion of their schedule at 8-6, Pitt welcomed #21 Florida State to the Peterson Events Center for their first ever ACC game. The Panthers gave the nationally-ranked Seminoles all they could handle but fell short in the end, losing 78-69.
Conference play provided many ups and downs for Pitt this year as they finished 3-13. Competition proved to be extremely stiff as the Panthers played #2 Notre Dame, #3 Duke, #10 Maryland, #13 NC State, #17 North Carolina, #21 Florida State, rv/rv Georgia Tech and rv/rv Syracuse. The ACC sent all eight of those teams to the NCAA Tournament.
In their second-ever ACC game and first one on the road, the Panthers traveled to Charlottesville, Va. to face the Cavaliers on January 5. After a back-and forth contest, the Panthers escaped with a narrow 79-75 victory, led by junior point guard Brianna Kiesel’s 26 points and seven assists. That win was significant as it marked Pitt’s first ACC win along with their first conference win in over two years dating back to the 2010-2011 season. It also capped off a week for Kiesel where she averaged 23 points and seven assists en route to be named the ACC and USBWA National Player of the Week.
Other conference highlights included a thrilling 67-65 win over Boston College on January 30 where Kiesel hit a game-winning shot with 3.1 seconds left to give the Panthers their first home ACC victory. The Panthers erased a 14 point first half deficit behind senior Asia Logan’s season-high 24 points.
After a couple of close losses to Georgia Tech and Wake Forest, the Panthers hosted the Clemson Tigers on Senior Day and Pink the Peterson. Playing with a lot of emotion, the Pitt defense stymied the Tigers offense into 18% shooting and 12 first-half points, which tied a Peterson Events Center record for fewest points allowed in a half. Pitt went on to win the game 56-43 behind Kiesel’s 20 points and sophomore Loliya Briggs’ 16.
Pitt entered the ACC tournament in Greensboro, N.C. as the #14 seed and faced Wake Forest in the first round, a team that edged the Panthers 74-70 in February. Senior Asia Logan pitched in an 18 point-12 rebound performance but that proved to not be enough as the Demon Deacons won 72-58, ultimately ending the season for the Panthers.
Leading the charge for the Panthers this season was undoubtedly junior point guard Brianna Kiesel. The Utica, N.Y. native became the first-ever USBWA National Player of the Week at Pitt along with also becoming the program’s first ACC Player of the Week honoree after averaging 23 points and seven assists in the first week of conference play. Kiesel, a three-time team captain, played and started in 30 games this season and ranked 14th in the ACC in scoring (16.4), 11th in assists (3.7), fifth in FT% (82.5) and second in minutes played (35.8). Kiesel also led the ACC in free-throws made and attempted (151-183) and had ten 20+ scoring outputs this year which was ninth most in the ACC. She was also responsible for pacing the team in scoring 17 times, rebounding eight times, assists 19 times and steals 13 times. The junior posted four double-doubles on the year and finished the season ranking 10th on Pitt’s all-time scoring list with 1,348 points.
The season marked the final one for seniors Asia Logan, Marquel Davis and Ashlee Anderson. Logan finished her four year career at Pitt with 988 points, just 12 shy of 1,000. She was second on the team in scoring (11.9) and led the squad in rebounding (6.7). Logan still holds the Peterson Events Center scoring record in a women’s game with 36 points against William & Mary in 2012.
Marquel Davis played in 116 career games at Pitt, the second most on the team only behind Ashlee Anderson (122). She finished this year averaging 5.7 points and 3.4 rebounds per contest. Davis’ best game of the year came in a close loss to Wake Forest where she scored 22 points on an incredibly efficient 8-of-9 shooting to go along with five rebounds and four steals.
Ashlee Anderson played in more career games than any other Panther on the team with 122 appearances and 91 starts. Anderson averaged 5.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game and also finished second on the team in assists (60).
The Panthers will welcome the #15 ranked recruiting class according to espnW HoopGurlz class rankings for the 2014-2015 season. Aysia Bugg (Bolingbrook, Ill.), Stasha Carey (Middleburg Heights, Ohio), Yacine Diop (Pittsburgh, Pa) and Naje Gibson (Pittsburgh, Pa) will all look to add instant contributions to the team. Diop and Gibson, teammates on Seton La-Salle’s high school team, just recently won the PIAA State AA championship, defeating Neumann-Goretti 58-50. Diop lead the charge with 10 points, 23 rebounds and six blocks in the win.
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