Pitt Panthers Comeback Story Continues


Mar 21, 2015; Knoxville, TN, USA; The Pittsburgh Panthers celebrate winning in the first round of the women

After scoring 16 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, Stasha Carey had finally met her match, the microphone.

“I’m bad at this,” Carey said.

“You better get used to it,” Coach Suzie McConnell-Serio countered.

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Indeed all of the Pitt Panthers women’s basketball team will have to adjust after winning its first round NCAA Tournament game against Chattanooga by a 51-40 score.

“What an incredible moment for our program to come away with a win in my first trip as a coach and our players who are in their first opportunity in the NCAA Tournament. What a special moment with the enthusiasm and energy in the locker room,” said McConnell-Serio. “It’s why you coach every day with getting a win like this, a signature win.”

Carey also was 6-for-7 from the free throw line. Senior Brianna Kiesel had 13 points for the Panthers who with the win earned its 20th victory of the season.

Media pundits and fans underestimated Pitt throughout the season, however every game the Panthers have proven doubters wrong. Kiesel believes that is because of one person.

“We’ve been an underdog all year,” said Kiesel. “Coach just fires us all up. We could be playing the Cleveland Cavaliers and coach believes we can win. She just gives us that time of confidence and we feed on her.”

Pitt forced the deliberate Chattanooga offense to shoot 26.2 percent from the field and out-rebounded them by 12 on the defensive end.

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  • Often times coaches use the cliche that once postseason play begins, a new year starts. That would mean in Carey’s case she has started her sophomore season. Though she stated she was nervous, it was not apparent during the game.

    “I’ve been playing since the beginning of the season, so I’m a lot more comfortable now than I was at the beginning of the season,” Carey said. “The way I played [against Chattanooga] just gives me more confidence knowing the ability that I have to help my team out. The way I play is going to affect the way my team plays.”

    Chattanooga never led in this contest and trailed 11-2 5:41 into the contest. Its 25-game winning streak also came to an end in this contest.

    Next up for Pitt is a match up against Tennessee that will be played on the Volunteers home court. The contest is set to tip-off at 6:30 PM Monday.

    “For a while, I thought I was going to be as tall as Candace Parker but something happened,” said Kiesel. “We have the same number and everything. She was someone I looked up to, and of course, Coach [Pat] Summitt with everything she has done here. This is such a historic place to play. To have the opportunity to play here is just like ‘Wow.’ You’re a 10‐year‐old looking at this phenomenal program and now you’re playing on their court.”

    “We know that it poses a great challenge, and with that, a great opportunity where our players will continue to prepare just like we have for any opponent all year long,” McConnell-Serio said. “We will play with everything to gain and nothing to lose. This will be an incredible environment. I want our players to enjoy this incredible opportunity.”

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