Pitt Panthers Shut Down Drexel


Nov 20, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers forward Yacine Diop (12) brings the ball up court ahead of Michigan Wolverines guard Katelynn Flaherty (3) during the first half at the Petersen Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt Panthers coach Suzie McConnell-Serio spoke for her team with the opening thought following a 72-53 victory against Drexel.

“What a difference a week makes,” McConnell-Serio said.

Following an 87-77 loss to Duquesne a week ago, the Panthers got this non-conference win which improves their record to 6-3 overall.

The Dragons entered the game allowing 53.8 points per game and Pitt’s 72 points scored were the most they allowed all season. Futhermore, the Panthers held Drexel to 32.3 percent shooting from the field.

“They play a matchup zone and it was player and ball movement,” said McConnell-Serio. “When you’re playing against a matchup zone, the only way you’re going to pick it apart is to have ball reversals and moving the basketballs, so there was an emphasis with this game of how we were going to attack. We also wanted to get the ball inside to the block and we did get to the high post. That was the focus offensively and we were able to create some things defensively which the focus was against their motion offense because they run a ton of flare screens, a lot of movements and you have to defend the entire shot clock. I thought Brianna Kiesel did a good job of disrupting the flow of the game for them. It was a great effort across the board defensively by our team.”

Freshman forward Yacine Diop who was named ACC Rookie of the Week this past week had 14 points and eight turnovers in the contest while graduate student forward Monica Wignot also scored 14 points. Senior guard Brianna Kiesel had 12 points while freshman forward Stasha Carey had nine points and 14 rebounds.

Pitt opened the game with a 7-0 lead however Drexel responded to tie the game at 14 with 8:39 to play in the first half. From there though, the Panthers outscored the Dragons 28-3 to take a 40-17 lead into the locker room.

“Once we started to hit shots and started to make plays, it opened things up for everyone,” McConnell-Serio said. “It gives players off the bench more confidence and the shot selection was very good, I thought we were attacking the basket and had great ball movement and we were just making really good decisions in the half court. It was a great run going into the locker room.”

Pitt was outscored by four points in the second half, however it was a plus 14 in points in the paint, a plus 10 in fast break points and in her 28 minutes on the floor, Wignot was a plus 24, a game high.

Pitt will next host Ball State on Thursday with the tip off scheduled for 7 p.m.

“We played them last year and that was our first win on the road,” said McConnell-Serio. “It was an exciting win for us and now we have a chance to bring them here. Right now our focus is on us, getting ourselves ready and getting ourselves back on track and we did that.”