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Women's Basketball Heads West for 'Duel in the Desert'

Kiesel has scored 103 of her 159 total points this season in the second half of games

Kiesel has scored 103 of her 159 total points this season in the second half of games

Dec. 17, 2013

Game Notes | Listen | Live Stats | Live Video | Tournament Central

GAMES 11-13: DePAUL (5-3), LOUISIANA-MONROE (4-5), WASHINGTON (4-3)
Thursday-Saturday, December 19-21, 2013 • 3 p.m. ET
Cox Pavilion • Las Vegas, Nev. 

On the Air (Radio): WJAS 1320
Play-by-Play: George Von Benko
Color: Jen Tuscano

Social Media: Twitter: @PittWomensHoops; Facebook: Like Pitt Women’s Basketball

Series History:
vs. DePaul: DePaul leads 7-4
vs. Louisiana-Monroe: N/A
vs. Washington: N/A

LAS VEGAS, Nev. –The University of Pittsburgh women’s basketball team looks to improve upon a two-game winning streak this weekend in Las Vagas, Nev., as the Panthers take part in the ‘Duel in the Desert.’ While in Vegas, Pitt will match up with former Big East rival DePaul, and first time opponents Louisiana-Monroe and Washington.

Tip is set for 3 p.m. ET (Noon PST) each day. The Panthers open the tournament on Thursday against DePaul, and will follow that with ULM on Friday and Washington on Saturday.

Kiesel Surpasses 1,000 Career Points:
In her last game out against Old Dominion, junior guard Brianna Kiesel became the 18th player in program history to score 1,000 career points. She did it in style, scoring 17 of her game-high 20 points in the second half as the Panthers came from behind to defeat Old Dominion 63-49. Kiesel is the seventh fastest Pitt player to reach the scoring milestone and she now has 1,015 career points.

The Utica, N.Y. native has raised her scoring average every year since she has been at Pitt. After averaging 13.6 points as a freshman and 14.9 points as a sophomore, Kiesel is now scoring 15.9 points a game during her junior campaign. She has also increased her rebounds per game every season and is hitting the glass at an all-time high, averaging 6.2 boards per game this season.

Kiesel is coming up large in the second half for the Panthers. She has scored 103 of her 159 total points in the second half, which is 64.5 percent of her total scoring. In 10 games, she has reached double-figure scoring in the second half alone five times. 

Davis Contributes:
After suffering a preseason injury, Marquel Davis has gotten back into a grove and has put together two very productive games for the Panthers, which both resulted in 14-point victories. Davis had seven points and a career-high 11 rebounds in a 69-55 win at Wagner. She then filled up the stat sheet against Old Dominion, contributing eight points, nine rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal in a season-high 29 minutes of action. Over the past two games, she is averaging 7.5 points and 10.0 rebounds in 27 minutes of action.

Scouting the Field:
DePaul (5-3):
The Blue Demons are 5-3 heading to Vegas, which two of those losses coming to Top 5 opponents in Notre Dame and Kentucky. DePaul has a very balanced offensive attack as four players score at least 13.1 points per game. Megan Rogowski is the team’s leading scorer at 15.4 ppg, while Megan Podkowa pulls down a team-best 6.8 rpg.

The Panthers and the Blue Demons have met every year since the 2005-06 season when DePaul entered the Big East. This will be the first time since 1980 the two team’s meet as non-conference opponents as Pitt is now in the ACC. That 1980 contest, played on Decemeber 6th in Pittsburgh, was the first game of the series and Pitt won an overtime battle, 85-84. The Blue Demons lead the all-time series 7-4 and won both contests last season (57-55 in Chicago, and 81-73 in Pittsburgh.

Louisiana-Monroe (4-5):
ULM enters the Vegas tournament with an overall record of 4-5. The Warhawks are 4-1 at home and winless at 0-4 on the road. They are coming off a 92-54 thumping of Alcorn State, where five UML players scored in double-figures, led by Alexar Tugler with 18 points.  Ashleigh Simmons is the team’s leading scorer as she averages 17.4 points per game.

Washington (4-3):
The Huskies are 4-3 this season and have won two in a row with victories over Wisconsin (80-67) and Montana State (83-60). Jazmine Davis and Kelsey Plum carry the scoring load for the UW, averaging 17.4 and 17.1 points per game, respectively. Aminah Williams is the team’s leading rebounder, as she pulls down an impressive 10.3 rpg.

Vegas Part II:
This will be the second trip to the ‘Duel in the Desert’ for seniors Ashlee Anderson, Marquel Davis and Asia Logan as the Panthers participated in what was then called the Las Vegas Hoops Classic back in 2010. Pitt matched up with Texas Tech and UT-Arlington three years ago, going 1-1. Pitt lost to Texas Tech by the score of 78-65 on Dec. 19, 2010, and then defeated UT-Arlington the following day by the score of 95-61.

Pitt in Regular-Season Tournaments:
The Panthers have experienced great success in its recent regular-season tournaments, going 20-3 dating back to the 2003-04 season. Pitt’s last regular-season tournament came at the Caribbean Classic in Cancun, Mexico where the Panthers defeated Big Ten opponents Indiana (77-72, OT) and Michigan State (64-54) on Dec. 20-21, 2011.

After Vegas:
After the trip out West, the Panthers will return home and host Youth Night as Pitt will face cross-town rival Duquesne on Sunday, December 29 at 6 p.m.