NEW YORK--Pitt was selected by league coaches to finish tied for 13th at the Big East Conference's annual women's basketball preseason media day held Thursday at the New York Athletic Club.
In a vote of the league's 15 coaches, Pitt finished tied for 13th with Seton Hall, with 31 total points each. Connecticut was tabbed as the league's favorite with 194 total points and 12 first place votes followed by Notre Dame (182 points, three first place votes) and Louisville (167 points).
Pitt Head Coach Agnus Berenato, along with sophomore Brianna Kiesel and redshirt junior Abby Dowd represented the Panthers in New York. Kiesel was a unanimous All-Big East Freshman Team selection a year ago, while Dowd led the Panthers with 35 3-point field goals made in 2011-12.
"(DePaul Head Coach) Doug Bruno just said to me, `anywhere from fifth to 13th (that) one basket is a difference maker and you could end up fourth or you could end up 13th in the Big East.' It really can come down to a free throw or a rebound," Berenato said. "All the teams in the Big East have really upped their games and its wide open any given night."
Pitt enters its 2012-13 season as one of the youngest teams in NCAA Division I, fielding a squad comprised of no seniors. Pitt returns four starters and nine letterwinners from a team that held the distinction as being the youngest squad in NCAA Division I last year. Pitt finished with an 8-22 overall record.
Berenato begins her 10th season as Pitt's head coach (152-128 overall record). She needs just seven wins to become the school's all-time winningest coach. Berenato has guided the Panthers to four consecutive 20-win seasons (2005-09), six postseason tournaments including the program's first NCAA Championship (2007) and back-to-back NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen appearances (2008 and 2009).
Pitt opens its season with an exhibition game against Lock Haven on Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Petersen Events Center (Noon). Regular season play begins on Friday, Nov. 9 against Youngstown State (11 a.m.).