Head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio addressed the local media on Thursday.
Sept. 26, 2013
Pitt Women's Basketball Media Day Press Conference
Quoting Head Coach Suzie McConnell-Serio:
"I can say that a lot has happened since the last time we were together when I was first hired in April and I sat up at this podium. I can't tell you how excited I still am to be sitting where I am as the head coach at the University of Pittsburgh for our women's basketball program. Right off the bat in April, hiring our staff and getting together, we hit the ground running. We had the opportunity throughout the summer to go out recruiting and evaluate talent but also had the opportunity to work with our players.
Brianna Kiesel, a junior point guard, and senior guard Ashley Anderson, really set the tone right from the beginning with their work ethic. They came in with a lot of confidence, excitement, motivation and encouragement and bought in right from the beginning with what we wanted to do.
In the beginning when we started working with the players we did a lot of small group workouts. Then we did some team practices so they were hearing all of our voices throughout the summer. It was a very productive summer for us. The players were able to get to know us. We were able to get to know the players. It really got us excited as coaches of what our players bring to the table. They had a little break from us in the month of August, which I'm sure they enjoyed. They had to opportunity to go home and now that they are back at school we have the opportunity to work out in small groups and hold team practices. Those are going very well.
It's amazing when, as a new coach, there are so many things you want to teach and an hour just flies by. We feel good about where we are. We know we have a lot of work to do. We have a lot to put in still, and with that being said we are excited that Monday will be our first official practice. We will put on the practice gear and bring in a practice team. We can now practice longer and can advance a lot of things that we are doing.
You are looking at two of the guards [Brianna Kiesel and Ashlee Anderson] that will allow us to play the way to we to play at an up-tempo style. I can't be more proud of these two. They have stepped up as leaders on and off the court. They have gotten this team together. We can only spend so much time with the team, but they have taken it upon themselves to move this team in the right direction.
There has been a lot of talk about our move to the ACC. With now officially being a part of the University of Pittsburgh and the athletic department, it has been amazing from what I have seen across the board. We are so excited to be going into the ACC and being a part of one of the best conferences in the country. We look at it as a great challenge going into the ACC, but our players are looking at it as a fresh start. It is an exciting opportunity that we have going into the ACC."
On the return of injured players:
"They are doing very well. Brittany (Gordon) and Asia (Logan) are both coming back from shoulder injuries. They had surgery in the off-season. They were limited to no contact throughout the summer so they concentrated on conditioning, rehab, shooting and doing the workouts with no contact. Both were cleared for contact when we were practicing in September. They have been given the green light to play."
On last year's record:
"We try not to talk about the record. What this team has done previously is behind us. We are looking for a fresh start and hope to surprise some people in the ACC and non-conference. We know that other people will be talking about where we started. It is what it is. We are just excited about the fresh start and building from the players we have. We have all the pieces to the puzzle."
On freshmen Frederique Potvin and Chelsea Welch:
"Frederique Potvin, who we call Fred, is a shooter but can do a little more than that. When she first came in, that was her strength. She is now starting to get more and more comfortable with putting the ball on the floor and showing some athleticism to create her own shot.
Chelsea Welch has come in as a combo. It is probably intimidating for her to go up against Brianna Kiesel everyday so she sometimes goes off to the 2-guard spot. It will take a year for her to learn the position and learn from someone who is comfortable in that spot. We need someone to be back to back up Brianna Kiesel. Chelsea will be able to do that along with scoring from the perimeter." On the most important thing to establish her first year: "The most important thing is getting our team to believe that when they step out on that floor that we have the confidence to win and that we are prepared. That comes every day in practice as well."
Quoting Junior Point Guard Brianna Kiesel
On playing for Head Coach Suzie McConnell-Serio:
"It is very exciting. There is a lot to be learned from her including how to be a leader on and off the court. Having Coach McConnell here has brought new optimism to the team and with me especially. She is trying to get me to become more vocal and I think it is paying off."
Quoting Redshirt Senior Guard Ashlee Anderson
On being the senior leader:
"I feel like it is a big part of what I need to do especially since we have freshmen and sophomores now. It separates our team from oldest to the youngest. I have been here a long time. I'm excited to have the opportunity to play another year and to hopefully prove that the team is good and have a better season than what we have had previously."
On if the team sets numbers for winning and losing:
"We don't talk about numbers statistically. We just want to get better. Going into the season we have our non-conference schedule, but our main focus is to work on conference play. We have a lot of teams that are coming from the Big East. There is that competitive nature coming from the Big East to the ACC, but now we are facing new teams that we have to also prove ourselves to."
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