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Aug 18 - Day 11 - Travel

Carol Sprague: August 18, 2008

I write to wrap up this wonderful journey as we fly across the Mediterranean Sea and later the Atlantic Ocean on our return to the USA. To do so I will start at the very beginning. Chancellor Nordenberg, Marc Boehm and I had many discussions with Angus during the time we were interviewing her, and eventually recruiting her, to lead our team to national prominence. Our discussions ranged from recruiting, to the challenges of Big East Conference competition, to marketing the program, to hosting NCAA events, and many more subjects to numerous to mention. I was struck by the fact that no matter where our conversations lead they were bound by a single strand . . . EDUCATION!!!!

We were convinced that Agnus, with the support of her family and the Pitt family, would transform our basketball program. We were also certain that she would transform the lives of the student-athletes in her charge. As we talked about the many elements that are necessary for success Agnus was absolutely resolute that our teams have the opportunity to take part in Foreign Tours. She espoused the positive impact her tours with her previous teams had on team bonding, expanding horizons, learning about other cultures, playing great competition and learning we are all citizens of the world. Chancellor Nordenberg understood and embraced the value of foreign travel, Marc Boehm concurred and I, not the world's best or most experienced traveler (never been further than Canada), jumped on board with Coach Berenato. Already we knew what recruits were going to experience when she began selling the University of Pittsburgh and her vision for their future. We were thrilled she was going to be our coach and certain she would thrive in Pittsburgh.

Needless to say the past five years have been a whirl wind which included hosting our first ever NCAA Championship event, qualifying for the NCAA Tournament for the first time in Pitt history and going through to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in 2008. It also included planning this foreign tour. I must add that without the support of Steve Pederson and Donna Sanft, and the hard work of Pitt staff members like Mark Rhodehamel (Director of Operations), Rich Holmes (University Legal Counsel), Yvonne Keafer (Risk Management), Vince Johns (Parking and Transportation) and Annagene Yucas (Study Abroad Program) we would never have gotten off the ground. Thanks to your belief and hard work 24 lives have been tremendously enhanced by this journey.

You have already heard the accounts of our players and coaches and I don't believe they have missed much in terms of the many things we have seen and felt together. I was able to sleep for most of our journey to Italy, and I awoke in the sky above Italy to the most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen. From that moment on, this trip has been the opportunity to see the beauty of not only St. Peter's Cathedral, the Sistine Chapel, the Mediterranean Sea and the Acropolis, but the beauty of the wonderful people we have met along the way. Everyone in Italy and Greece welcomed us with joy and hospitality and you would have loved seeing your Panthers walking the streets of Rome chanting let's go Pitt. During our first pre-game meal we were at a small Italian restaurant and the final of men's Olympic fencing was on television. All of the Italian patrons were cheering for the Italian fencer who went on to win the gold medal. There was excitement coursing through the restaurant and when the Italian winner stood on the award platform with the gold around his neck, everyone, including your Panthers, stood for the playing of the Italian National Anthem and shared in the joy of victory. We were Citizens of the World.

It has been a privilege to have experienced this journey with so many wonderful traveling companions. I am teacher by education, and at heart, and this has been a fabulous opportunity to be a student again. I will not forget the many lessons of this experience; or the people I have traveled with. I thoroughly enjoyed making memories with everyone.

Hail to Pitt.


PS. I never would have made it without the packing tips!!!

Day 1 - Travel
August 8

  • Journal Entry: Xenia Stewart
  • Day 1 Photo Gallery

    Day 2 - Rome
    August 9

  • Journal Entry: Jania Sims
  • Day 2 Photo Gallery

    Day 3 - Rome
    August 10

  • Pitt vs. Palestrina
  • Journal Entry: Coach Berenato
  • Day 3 Photo Gallery

    Day 4 - Rome
    August 11

  • Journal Entry: Sophronia Sallard
  • Day 4 Photo Gallery

    Day 5 - Athens
    August 12

  • Journal Entry: Coach McCombs
  • Day 5 Photo Gallery

    Day 6 - Athens
    August 13

  • Pitt vs. Greek Senior National Team
  • Journal Entry: Shayla Scott
  • Day 6 Photo Gallery

    Day 7 - Athens
    August 14

  • Pitt vs. Greek Senior National Team
  • Journal Entry: Taneisha Harrison
  • Day 7 Photo Gallery

    Day 8 - Athens
    August 15

  • Journal Entry: Chelsea Cole
  • Day 8 Photo Gallery

    Day 9 - Athens
    August 16

  • Journal Entry: Coach Williams
  • Day 9 Photo Gallery

    Day 10 - Athens
    August 17

  • Journal Entry: Shavonte Zellous
  • Day 10 Photo Gallery

    Day 11 - Travel Day
    August 18

  • Journal Entry: Carol Sprague
  • Aug 17 - Day 10 - Athens

    Shavonte Zellous: August 17, 2008

    Today started off well. I was a little tired because we have been having so much fun and I haven't slept much. This overseas trip has been the best thing ever in my life. The hotel is awesome and the pools and beach are great. The coolest thing ever was that our hotel was beachside.

    We had a chance to experience real Greek music while we were here since we didn't hear much American music. The music was fine, but obviously we didn't know what they were saying. I am glad we got to hear it though and it turned out to be okay.

    We had dinner tonight on the beach for our last night in Greece. The food was so good! It was the first time I actually cleaned my plate and I don't do that very often. The team and coaching staff gave out four awards to the administrative staff that came and supported us while overseas for 10 days. By the way, our administrative staff was great and funny. If we didn't have Dr. Susan (Albrecht) saying "whoop whoop" all day, every day, we had Chief (Carol Sprague) say "Hail to Pitt baby!" Hahaha. It was so funny and cute and they made our nights here fun.

    Overall, our time in Greece was great. They are moments we can always remember 10 years from now. I know I will!

    Tae Tae

    Aug 16 - Day 9 - Athens

    Coach Jeff Williams: August 16, 2008

    Greetings from Greece! Today was a very relaxing day. In the spirit of the Olympic games, we made a trip to the 2004 Olympic stadium here in Athens. Almost all of the facilities are new and were built especially for the Olympics. Unfortunately, they have not been used much since. We had the opportunity to see the track and field stadium earlier in the week...I really should have made the girls run the stairs for quick work out. ☺

    We arrived at our third and final hotel today. I'm convinced that Coach B set me up...it has a world class luxury spa, and my wife had that sparkle in her eye! This normally means an opportunity for her to get deeper into my pockets!!!!

    The kids finally get a moment to unwind and enjoy the beautiful indoor and outdoor pools as well as the private beach. There is a 007 tunnel from the hotel to the beach. Have I mentioned that all of the guys here wear Speedo's no matter how big their stomach's are? You don't EVEN have to ask about ole' coach Williams.....NO WAY.

    I suggested that the kids relax as much as they could for the next two days, because school and practice is right around the corner.

    This final stop allows me to sit back and reflect on the tour. The tour was a great experience for the kids because it gives them the confidence that they are able to adapt and adjust to different environments and cultures. I hope that the unity and bonds fostered during this trip will enhance the lives of the kids on and off the court.

    Two more days before I am home holding my little guy, McCoy! He'll be waiting with ball in hand, ready to shoot hoops with daddy and looking at mommy to cheer when he makes a basket!

    Kalinihta (Good Night),

    Coach Williams

    Aug 15 - Day 8 - Athens

    Chelsea Cole: August 15, 2008

    Before this trip I would never have thought that I would see some of the things I saw today. The scenery I witnessed today was amazing. It was just the way the postcards showed. Today was the day of the Athens One Day Cruise. We sailed to the Greek islands Poros, Hydra and Aegina. I really enjoyed the cruise because I haven't been on such a big ship since I was about seven years old. As we sailed from island to island I couldn't help but admire the vast sea of crystal blue water. It was a drastic difference compared to the green water we are used to in the States.

    The first island, Poros, was a small one. It didn't have much shopping so we didn't stay long. Although I didn't get around to the whole island, I noticed that they did have a lot of small restaurants by the water. Back in Athens I had gotten used to seeing many stray dogs but I was surprised to see more cats roaming around on the islands. I guess this was their way of staying away from the dogs. After a short while we headed back onto the ship for lunch where we were entertained by a mime and some dancing from our very own Shavonte Zellous. Although most of the players pinched their noses at the salad with raw salmon, we all cheered when our tour guide, Maya, presented us with a delicious Greek treat called Baklava.

    Not long after lunch we arrived at the second island, Hydra. This island was made up of several shops, restaurants and houses stacked on hills. With the sun beaming down on us at about 99 degrees it was hard to resist jumping into the cool blue Mediterranean Sea. Before heading towards the water we watched Phro (Sophornia Sallard), Shay (Shayla Scott), Tae (Zellous) and Tee (Taneisha Harrison) make their way around the island on the backs of donkeys. The rest of the group headed to a secluded area on the island where you can jump off of the island rocks and into the sea. After stripping down to our bathing suits, a few of us lined up and jumped into the cool and refreshing water. I was welcomed with a mouthful of natural Greek salt.

    Unfortunately as I was getting out of the water my foot made contact with a local sea urchin. The bottom of my foot was impaled with quarter inch splinters. It felt like I stepped on a cactus or a porcupine. From there Maya, Coach B, Greg (Hess) and I walked to the pharmacy to get tweezers and some disinfectant. Back on the ship our wonderful trainer Greg was able to remove most of the splinters and patch up my foot so I could continue to enjoy the cruise and our stay here in Greece.

    In the mean time as we traveled from Hydra to Aegina, there were festivities taking place inside of the ship. While most of the group opted to relax on the balcony of the ship and take in the rays of sun, Xenia (Stewart), Shavonte and myself decided to cool off inside. Inside there was all kinds of Greek music and dancing going on. The music would start off slow and then all of a sudden speed up. This didn't bother the dancers at all. They just picked up speed and kept their feet moving right along with the beat. We watched as women were invited on stage to join the dance and unexpectedly hoisted into the air by the men and twirled around. Even the oldest of women were swept off of their feet. It was definitely a sight to see.

    Once we reached the third island, Aegina, we were immediately astounded by the beautiful sandy beaches. The sand was so white and the water was so clear. It was here that the team decided to grab another bite to eat. Phro and I had some of the most mouth-watering gyro sandwiches ever! We all laid out on the beach afterward and enjoyed the weather and then headed back to the ship.

    Coming to college I never would have imagined that I would get to see the things I've seen on this trip. Everything I've seen thus far has been things I've only seen on TV or in books. I feel so blessed to be able to do things like this with people I care about. This trip has been a life changing experience that I will never forget and will talk about for the rest of my life. Hopefully later in my life I will be able to share this experience with my children and open their eyes to a whole new world as it was done for me.

    C.Cole #22

    Aug 14 - Day 7 - Athens

    Taneisha Harrison: August 14, 2008

    Today started off slow. We had nothing scheduled so everyone decided to sleep in. This morning, the team met in Coach B's room where we signed approximately 50 postcards to friends, family and Pitt supporters. We wanted to emphasize how good the food is, how friendly the people are, how beautiful the cities and scenery are and last, but not LEAST, how great the shopping is.

    After signing postcards, the team decided to go to Plaka, which is a main street in Athens full of stores. While shopping, me, Shay (Shayla Scott) and Jay (Jania Sims) had an experience with the Greek police. As the street vendors ran off with fake Prada and Gucci bags, the police thought we were with them. They said "You guys look suspicious." We laughed and smiled as they asked us for our passports and where we were from. As we walked away, they joked about the USA and Greece basketball game in the Olympics saying "good luck, because we are going to win!"

    As I experience Italy and Greece, they are both new to me. You have to adapt to so much such as the food, the weather, the people, the language and especially the time change. This experience has been educational and so much fun. It makes me want to travel the world when I get out of college. I'm looking forward to the rest of the trip!!

    Tee #10

    Aug 14 - Day 7 - Pitt vs. Greek Senior National Team

    ATHENS, Greece -- The Pitt women's basketball team concluded its games against European teams Thursday night with an 84-66 loss to the Greek Senior National team.

    The Panthers were led by seniors Xenia Stewart (Bowie, Md./Riverdale Baptist) and Shavonte Zellous (Orlando, Fla./Jones) with 18 and 15 points respectively. Sophomore Taneisha Harrison (Bowie, Md./St. John's College) had a hot hand, as well, with 16 points and five rebounds on the night. Stewart added a team-high 15 rebounds and three steals.

    The Greek Senior National team, preparing for the European championships, shot an impressive 27 of 50 from the field and was 8 of 15 from three-point range. Pitt outrebounded the team from Greece, however, with 40 to their 33.

    Pitt defeated Italy's Palestrina team, 87-46, and fell to the Greek Senior National team twice - 76-70 and 84-66 during the European tour. The Panthers team and staff will continue touring Greece until their return trip to the United States on Monday. Pitt's travels are documented with daily journals and photo galleries on www.pittsburghpanthers.com.

    Aug 13 - Day 6 - Athens

    Shayla Scott: August 13, 2008

    Yasas (hello) everyone! I can not even tell you how excited I am to be here in Greece. First, let me start by telling you I am writing as I sit outside and enjoying one of the most beautiful ancient monuments I have ever seen: the Acropolis.

    The view from the rooftop of our hotel is amazing. The pool overlooks the beautifully lit Acropolis and it could not be a prettier night. But, that's enough bragging about our fantastic view at night, so let me tell you about our adventurous day.

    We woke up this morning and ate a quick breakfast in our hotel, then we were off to see the sights. Our tour guide was great. As we were driving to the Acropolis, she was telling us some interesting facts about Athens - the population is somewhere near four million, which is half the population of Greece.

    As we were climbing the steps up to the Parthenon on top of the Acropolis, we stopped many times to take in the view and take some pictures. It was interesting to hear our guide talk about all the Greek gods and goddesses. It made that part of history even more interesting because we were actually there.

    Standing at the top of the Acropolis was also breathtaking. Seeing the whole city of Athens was great!!! Me, Phro (Sophronia Sallard) and Tee (Taneisha Harrison) walked around like such tourists and took so many pictures. Phro and I even took a few keepsake rocks from the hill J.

    From the Acropolis, we went to the first Olympic stadium of modern times. It was HUGE. On the bus we joked about how if the team wasn't doing what Coach Williams wanted on the court, he would send us to run the steps at the stadium. We would definitely struggle. We took some photos there (which included some action shots of Carol Sprague and Wendy Meyers) and then we headed to the Temple of Zeus.

    We took some more great pictures there, and even encountered a little mishap with a few of the locals. They were trying to take our cameras away from us because we were taking pictures, lifting each other up. But, aside from that, we were on our best behavior touring ancient Athens.

    After a long morning, we headed back to the hotel to relax before our game. But we made a quick stop at the grocery store to pick up a few things to snack on. I think a few people even planned a picnic at the pool, so they were grabbing food for that. We took a much-needed nap and then woke up ready for the game. We ate our pregame meal on our own. The best roommate ever (Jania!!) and I went to a place next door to eat, and Phro joined us.

    Soon enough, it was game time. It was exciting to play the National team of Greece. The game was extremely intense and physical. The refs called few fouls that would definitely be a foul in the States. Though we did not win (76-70), we got used to their style of play and we will beat them tomorrow!!

    So, as you can see, we had a pretty busy day today. Being here is a great experience and has allowed our little team of seven to really come together and bond with each other. Hopefully, you have enjoyed reading about it!!

    Shay, #25

    Aug 13 - Day 6 - Pitt vs. Greek Senior National Team

    ATHENS, Greece -- The Pitt women's basketball team nearly pulled off an upset in a tough 76-70 loss to the Greek Senior National Team here Wednesday night during their European tour of Italy and Greece.

    The Panthers, however, will have a chance to redeem themselves Thursday night with a rematch against the Greek team.

    Shavonte Zellous (Orlando, Fla./Jones) again led Pitt scorers with 27 points on the night, while adding eight rebounds. Jania Sims (Newark, N.J./Shabazz) added 17 points and six assists.

    The game was tight from start to finish with no one leading by more than seven points at any point during the game. Despite a first quarter led primarily by Greece, the Panthers controlled a large part of the second quarter. Heading into the half, Pitt tied the game at 37-37.

    After tying the game at 67-67, down the stretch, the Greek Senior National Team pulled away for the six-point victory. The story of the game was Pitt's free throw shooting in which they hit just 15 of 29.

    The Panthers will again meet up with the Greek Senior National team Thursday night to round out the team's games during the tour.

    Aug 12 - Day 5 - Athens

    Coach McCombs: August 12, 2008

    6:45 a.m. wake-up call...Snooze! 6:50 a.m. wake-up...Snooze! 6:55 a.m. - Ok, ok I'm getting up! I would love just one more day in Rome, but today is our travel day and we are on our way to the airport, heading to Athens, Greece. It is a bittersweet moment, leaving my sister and brother-in-law in Rome, yet so anxiously awaiting to explore Greece! And everyone knows Greek food is thebomb.com, so I can't wait! It's 8:30 a.m. as we board the bus to the airport. We have a two hour flight awaiting us and we will also push the clocks ahead another hour, so now we will be seven hours ahead of everyone back home in the 'burgh! But enough of the logistics... Jen (Tuscano) is quickly giving us a crash course so we will be well-versed in our next new language.... Ephkharisto, thank you and parakalon, please or you are welcome...the important phrases, of course!

    The plane ride was just a quick power nap! They fed us lunch on the plane where I was sandwiched in between Shavonte (Zellous) and Wendy (Meyers). Unfortunately, we had some difficulties deciphering what the lunch was that they placed in front of us, so we decided to pass. I passed out on Shavonte's shoulder as she sang songs on my ipod. Haha. When we got off the plane we immediately stepped outside into the dry heat. It reminded me of last year when we got off the plane for the NCAA's in Albuquerque, N.M. Whoop! Whoop!

    From there we took a shuttle bus over to baggage claim. We boarded the bus with Maya, our tourguide, and Costas, our bus driver around 3:15 p.m., to head to downtown Athens where our hotel is located. On the ride, we were serenaded by Tae and Phro (Sophronia Sallard) singing a duet of Leona Lewis - Bleeding Love. Don't worry, we have the concert on videotape for all to see!!!

    After checking-in we went to The Plaka, which is the old town of Athens. Here there are typical Greek restaurants and of course shopping!!! A lot of the girls tasted gyro's or kabobs for the first time and they had a choice between chicken, lamb or beef. Of course in my unbiased opinion, the feta cheese was the highlight of lunch. Its amazing!!! After lunch we all split up and went shopping around the downtown area. There are a lot of jewelry stores, clothing and of course shoe stores. Everyone took cabs back to the hotel and ventured up to the rooftop for a dip in the pool and hot tub. The view is beautiful and we can see the Acropolis. We hung out until we closed the place down, but not before having some dessert on our first night in Athens. We are all going to be well-rested in our nice, cozy beds and ready to tour the Acropolis in the morning and to play the Greek National Team at night. Wish us luck - Go Panthers!

    Antio! (good bye)
    Coach McCombs

    Aug 11 - Day 4 - Rome

    Sophronia Sallard: August 11, 2008

    Imagine waking up bright and early only to imagine what your eyes would see next. Despite a very long night of performances and duets with my dearest teammates, not to mention guest appearance from Coach B and our travel party, I didn't want that night to end. However, I couldn't wait until morning.

    When morning came I had never been so eager to jump out of the bed. I couldn't wait to see if my imagination was on point with what I was about to experience. When we arrived at the site, we waited in a line to enter into the Vatican, which wrapped around three blocks. It was a long time to wait, but once we got inside to see, to me, the true meaning of it made all the difference.

    I have to admit it was really long and tiring but I completely woke up once we got into the Sistine Chapel. It was the most creative and outstanding masterpiece I have ever seen. I mean, I sketch a little, but I couldn't even begin to think about lying on my back to paint or draw such a masterpiece, and to think it took four years to complete. Every part of the Sistine Chapel had a story, filled with detail and if you looked closely it looked 3D, which sparked my interest even more.

    Please forgive me for being repetitive but, I would have never imagined myself in a place where I thought only existed in text books or on the History Channel. Who would have ever thought that a kid from New York City would have ever stepped foot outside of the five boroughs? I surely didn't, and now not only did I get to experience what only was a dream to me, but so did my brothers and sisters at home, simply because they are with me everywhere I go.

    For my beloved mother who's soul rests in heaven, she too experiences the life beyond skyscrapers and subway stations not only because she's an angel doing work for the Lord, but because she lives inside of me and I cherish the dreams she once had and I shall live it to the fullest. There is much more time to experience part of my imagination for this is only the beginning, the start to broaden my horizons and make my imaginations finally my reality! Love, Peace and Happiness!

    #2 Phro

    Aug 10 - Day 3 - Rome

    Head Coach Agnus Berenato: Aug. 10, 2008

    Ciao! Today is day two of our trip - day three, including travel. We all woke up feeling very tired, however, everyone made it to breakfast. The Italian breakfast is great, but very different - no omelets, homefries, pancakes or oatmeal, rather lots of fruits, breads, rolls, fresh cut meats (salami, hams, etc.) and cheeses. Also, beautiful and delicious croissants (chocolate are the very best!), sweet rolls and fruit-filled pastries. Of course, the Italian coffee is strong (espresso, my favorite!) and the juices are all tart (especially the orange and grapefruit), but refreshing. Oh, one last thing; the nutella (chocolate spread) was a crowd favorite to spread on toast! We gathered to cross-check everyone's plans since we had free time and we were entertained by two fabulous stars staying in the hotel "Mary and Regina" and they played the piano and sang in the lobby. The team and staff loved it, clapping and laughing.

    On to the flea market by cab where after 10 minutes, all the items looked alike. Tae Tae (Shavonte Zellous) was able to get some watches and Tee (Taneisha Harrison) and Shay (Shayla Scott) were able to get some bracelets. The staff and travel party were adventurous as they took a walking tour given by Coach McCombs' sister Leslie, who lives in Rome. Offering another tour was Jack Berenato, so everyone really saw the sites and rich culture of the Italian people. The favorite destinations were probably the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and Navonna Square.

    Time to eat again as we enjoyed a great pregame meal of lasagna, roasted chicken, roasted potatoes and green salad. The meal was great and Daniella (our tour guide) did a super job of handling every detail.

    Game time now. It was a beautiful hour ride and the travel party was treated to wonderful scenery in the country. The olive trees, vineyards and lemon trees all make Italy magnificent. We went up mountains and around hair-raising curves (Dr. Susan Albrecht was calmed by Wendy Meyers - thanks Wendy!). It was a sight to behold.

    The gym where the Palestrina team plays was hot, humid and not very well lit. The stands were cement, but we had more fans than the home team. Our fans included Dr. Albrecht, Carol Sprague, Wendy Meyers, Tamecia Williams, Jack, Chrissy and Clare Berenato, Jen Tuscano, Laura Fonzi and Leslie McCombs' entire family of in-laws, and her husband Matteo. As our cheering section chanted "Let's Go Pitt" in Italian, the ball was tossed into the air, and Pitt women's basketball had made another "first" playing against international competition on foreign soil.

    Score: Pitt 87, Palestrina 46, and there you have it. Jeff Williams, Associate Head Coach, got his first win, as I believe foreign tours are a chance for the assistant coaches to test their hand at being a head coach. Coach Williams will coach two games and Coach McCombs will coach one game. This allows them the opportunity to call timeouts, substitute players and do pregame and halftime talks!! All-in-all, it was great "student-coaching" for them. The game - Xenia Stewart had a "beast" of a game with 23 points and 14 rebounds while Shavonte Zellous had 28 points, five rebounds and three steals and was perfect from the line (4-for-4). Taneisha Harrison had 10 points and six rebounds, while Chelsea Cole had 12 rebounds. Shayla Scott had 10 rebounds and nine points. The "spice" was Jania Sims with six assists, four points and eight rebounds, rounded out by "Phro" (Sophronia Sallard), with nine points, four assists and 10 rebounds. A very well-rounded team effort and great win on the road (literally!).

    Coach Williams was awarded the Team Champion Medal and Dr. Susan Albrecht was awarded the All-Star Award for the day. We also gave an all-star award to our tour guide Daniella because she has been outstanding. Susan Albrecht has been a blast, and ever so supportive since the first day I got this job. We value her and love having her "on the road". Coach Williams did an outstanding job of coaching - Congrats Jeff, 1-0!

    Our postgame meal was awesome with great food and a wonderful kickboxer waitress. There was also an impromptu rap by Sophronia Sallard and her backup singers (team). All-in-all a great night. It is 2:10 a.m., and everyone has checked in and it is time for sleep.

    The Vatican and St. Peter's awaits us... Game On!

    Head Coach Agnus Berenato

    Aug 10 - Day 3 - Pitt vs. Palestrina

    PALESTRINA, Italy -- Pitt women's basketball's voyage to Italy began as a success as the Panthers defeated Italy's Palestrina team, 87-46, Sunday night in the town approximately an hour outside of Rome.

    Shavonte Zellous (Orlando, Fla./Jones) led all scorers with 28 points, while Xenia Stewart (Bowie, Md./Riverdale Baptist) was close behind with 23 points. Stewart was an impressive 10 of 19 from the field for a 52.6 shooting percentage.

    Pitt shot 36 of 97 from the field for a 37.1 shooting percentage. Pitt held Palestrina to just 16 of 54 from the field (29.6 percent) and the Panthers outrebounded the Italian team an impressive 65 to just 19.

    Although Pitt held the lead throughout, Palestrina held Pitt to just an 11-7 advantage at the 5:19 mark in the first quarter. The Panthers went on a 23-0 run and took a dominating 49-17 halftime lead.

    Pitt will play again Wednesday night against the Greek Senior Selection Team in Athens. The Panthers and the Greek team will play twice during the Panthers' tour.

    Aug 9 - Day 2 - Rome

    Jania Sims: Aug. 9, 2008

    Today was a long but exciting day. Once we left the Rome airport everyone was drained and wanted to go to the hotel, but in order to get used to the time difference we had to stay awake so we went on a tour.

    We viewed the Palestine building where they held chariot races. Then we stopped for lunch in a pizzeria where we met the owner Massimo. He was a nice, funny guy that loved Americans. Our first experience with Italian food, I ate pizza.

    After lunch we went to the Collsseo (Colliseum), where there were people trying to bargain with you to buy fans, hats and umbrellas. With the sun feeling like it is right beside you, everyone bought something to stay cool. The Collesso was an amazing site and it is definitely something you have to see.

    After all the touring, we finally got back to the hotel and everyone was really tired and went to sleep. When we woke up, we went walking around looking into stores. We ran into a team from Pennsylvania and they were really nice. We finally got back to the room and everyone was wide awake so we start playing UNO and made rap videos for the rest of the night.

    #14 Jania Sims

    Aug 8 - Day 1 - Travel

    Xenia Stewart: Aug. 8, 2008

    Everyone is so excited for this 10 day trip- our first stop is beautiful Italia (Italy). I used to live in Italy when I was younger but I don't remember so this trip will definitely be one I will not forget.

    The plane ride was eight hours long. It might have seemed long to some, but I have been on a plane for 23 hrs straight, so this was a light travel for me. As soon as we landed, we were accepted by the countrymen, expressing their best wishes for us as we play our games and see their beautiful city of Rome.

    On our way to baggage claim, we had to stop by customs. The long lines were a disguise because we went through quickly. Once we arrived in baggage claim, we met our tour guide Daniella. I had to admit, Chelsea and I were getting pretty hot in the terminal. It seemed like every new destination we got to, it became even hotter than the last spot. All well.

    Now we are on the bus getting ready to see the sites and practice our Italian. I believe that by the time the day is over, I should have some strong leg muscles from all the walking we are going to be doing. Ciao!

    #33 Xenia Stewart

    Women's Basketball European Trip

    The Pitt women's basketball team will take a preseason trip to Europe August 8-18 including stops in Rome, Athens and the Cape Sounio in Greece.

    The journey will consist of three games, including one contest with Palestrina of Italy and two with the Greek Senior Selection team.

    "This is a fantastic opportunity for us on and off the court," head coach Agnus Berenato said. "The University of Pittsburgh has the highest of academic standards and this is a chance for our student-athletes to compete with some of the best in the world, while receiving an education.

    "With two very different cultures in Italy and Greece, I have found that teams return with a new appreciation of the United States," Berenato continued. "These next few weeks will take us out of our comfort zone and help us to set higher standards for the upcoming season."

    The trip, which is only for returning players, allows the Pitt women a chance to practice and play together prior to the start of preseason workouts. The games in Italy and Greece, however, will be played with European rules. Making the trek will be Chelsea Cole, Taneisha Harrison, Sophronia Sallard, Shayla Scott, Jania Sims, Xenia Stewart and Shavonte Zellous.

    The 10-day trip will be documented online at www.pittsburghpanthers.com with players and coaches submitting a daily journal. Fans can also follow the Panthers' adventures through the team's daily photo galleries and itinerary to be posted at Pitt's home on the web.