Third time is the charm for Berenato and Pitt


February 14, 2012; Pittsburgh,PA, USA: Louisville Cardinals guard Shoni Schimmel (23) handles the ball against Pittsburgh Panthers guard Brianna Kiesel (3) during the second half at the Petersen Events Center. The Cardinals won 71-66 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE

Following a bad loss where they were admittedly ‘stagnant’, the Pittsburgh Panthers women’s basketball team had a sense of urgency early that translated into a 67-49 victory against Mount St. Mary’s.

The victory was the 159th for Head Coach Agnus Berenato, the most in program history.

“We didn’t really focus on getting Coach B that win, we wanted to get this one for us,” Brianna Kiesel said. “We had two tough losses and Coach B and the coaching staff really helped get us back to where we were. It’s just a joyful win going into the holidays.”

At the last press conference it appeared to be a back to the drawing boards approach but the defense had a much bigger sense of urgency forcing plenty of turnovers.

Asia Logan had it going in this game and set the tone with her mid-range shooting game which helped pace the Panthers to a 12-3 lead going into the first media timeout.

This trend continued in the first half and Logan would finish the first half with 14 points.

The Panthers appeared much more focused and prepared on defense and offensively they appeared much smoother and confident.

Towards the half though, Mount St. Mary’s cut what was once an 18 point lead into a 37-28 leave when the teams went into the locker rooms.

Brittany Gordon got her first start tonight and had five of the Panthers 10 assists in the first half en route to a career high seven.

As a team, the Panthers shot 55.6% from the field and forced 13 turnovers. They won the battle in the paint 20-8 and also were victorious in fast break points 12-2.

The second half was the Brianna Kiesel show, already with eight points at the half, she scored the first nine points of the half. This included a layup plus a made free throw and two fast break layups. Then she found Ashlee Anderson and threaded the needle for another easy two.

The Panthers were able to maintain their defensive intensity but the lead was cut to nine with around 11 minutes left in regulation as Jessie Kaufman made her fourth three of the game.

Both Logan and Kiesel went over 20 points in the game. Logan finished with 26 points and Kiesel 23. Combined, they tied the total amount of points Mount St. Mary’s scored.

In the final minute Brianna Brizzi and Bridget Higgins each saw playing time.

The Panthers won the battle of the rebounds 39-27 and 15-6 offensively. Chyna Golden had 15 rebounds, a career high and Berenato was very happy with her performance.

‘I thought Chyna was phenomenal tonight,” Berenato said. “I thought she worked really hard, but one of the best things was that she really enjoying it. With 3:07 left, I asked her if she could give me another minute and a half, because she was around 13 [rebounds] and I wanted her to get 15 for her sake. Chyna has worked very hard and you reap what you sew.”

The Panthers maintained their advantage of points in the paint [36-16], points off turnovers [26-10] and fast break points [22-8]. Mount St. Mary’s ultimately ended up with 21 turnovers to Pittsburgh’s 12. The 13 steals Pitt had were one off the Petersen Events Center record.

The Panthers will be on the road for the next three games. The first will be Saturday December 29 at Buffalo with a tipoff scheduled for 2 p.m. They will next be at home on Saturday January 12 against Villanova, a 6 p.m. tipoff.

News + Notes:

Berenato said that the team worked very hard since the loss to Rider and the practices were on ‘a whole different level. We didn’t fool around.’ She said that the practices allowed the team to get the victory tonight.

Berenato was excited about the win against Mount St. Mary’s and they beat Rider and Big East foe Seton Hall. She also gave high marks to Gordon and told the freshman that her teammates would help her if she was stuck or nervous and Berenato was pleased with the teamwork her players showed.

Berenato on Buffalo: “Abby [Dowd] transferred from Buffalo. Bri was recruited extremely heavily by the coach that is at Buffalo now. It’s going to be a lot of fun and we’re going to be really fired up.”