Pitt Panthers Win As Kiesel Reaches Milestone


Nov 20, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard Shannon Smith (left) fouls Pittsburgh Panthers guard Brianna Kiesel (right) during the second half at the Petersen Events Center. Pittsburgh won 85-64. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pitt Panthers earned its seventh win of the season defeating Ball State in a non-conference game 59-47 Thursday evening.

“It’s a great win because this team was very dangerous coming in from the three point line,” coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said. “They run a lot good stuff to get Fontaine touches and we keyed on her. Defensively they pack it in and force you to take outside jumpers. If you’re not a team that hits shots, then you will struggle. We hit some shots in the first half that allowed us to extend our lead a little bit.”

Leading the way for the Panthers was senior Brianna Kiesel who had 22 points in her 100th career game. Kiesel also scored her 1,500th career point early in the first half.

“She’s been amazing,” said McConnell-Serio. “I’ve really been enjoying this senior year with her. She’s logged a lot of minutes on that little body. It’s her 100th game and she just comes up with timely plays. If we need a steal or basket she’ll do whatever she can to get it.”

More from Pitt Panthers

Freshman Stasha Carey recorded her third double-double on the season for Pitt with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Of those rebounds, six were offensive.

“When Stasha rebounds we’re a much better team,” McConnell-Serio said. “When she’s focused and can rebound at both ends, she’s active on the glass and rebounding defensively she opens up the game for us. It gives us second and third chances. She’s so long and athletic and came up with some timely rebounds tonight and I thought she did a great job. It’s a great stat line for her.”

Pitt out-rebounded Ball State 42-32 and had a 23-5 advantage in points off turnovers.

Ball State (4-5) saw its leading scorer, senior guard Nathalie Fontaine put up a team high 15 points.

Much like its last game against Drexel Sunday, the Panthers used a late first half run to take a double digit lead into halftime. In this instance, Pitt used a 10-1 run in the final 4:49 of the first half to take a 30-19 lead into the locker room.

McConnell-Serio noted the team’s first half success and believes their organization early allows them to make their runs.

“What we try to do is start a rotation,” said McConnell-Serio. “Once we get to the first media timeout we’re starting a rotation and we’re going eight deep sometimes nine. We’re keeping people fresh throughout the course of the first half because we know there’s a chance in the second half if we don’t extend our bench as much. We’ve been able to make a push when we get players out on the floor down the stretch. We’ve done really well in the first half.”

In the second half Pitt opened the first six minutes on a 10-5 run to reach its largest lead of the game, 16 points. Despite this, Ball State did not go away cut the Panther advantage to 52-45 with 3:55 to play.

“We came out in the second half and went on a little run, and they went to their extended 2-1-2 defense which we expected,” McConnell-Serio said. “It’s disruptive because they’re so long and athletic, they force you to throw lob passes and they make you take time off the clock. That was okay because we wanted to take time off the clock, just not turn it over. We made some timely shots and got to the free throw line late in the game to be able to extend the lead.”

What kept Pitt’s lead though was shots falling during important possessions. Earlier in the half, sophomore guard Fred Potvin made a three point shot to extend the lead from 8 to 11 and then with 1:45 to go, Kiesel made a three to bring the Panther lead back into double digits.

Pitt will next face Youngstown State Sunday at 2 p.m. These two teams last played Nov. 9 2012 and the Penguins won 64-50.