Women’s Basketball: Pitt still searching for answers

Jasper Wilson | February 9, 2012    

In the midst of a nine-game losing streak, the Pitt women’s basketball team continues to… In the midst of a nine-game losing streak, the Pitt women’s basketball team continues to search for answers.

The Panthers have had a week off since their last game — a 72-48 loss to Marquette — to reflect on their poor form. Pitt hasn’t won a game in 2012 and while a few games have been competitive, the majority of the Panthers’ losses haven’t been close. Pitt’s average margin of defeat during the losing streak has been 22 points.

With the postseason out of the question, the team’s goal is simple: compete.

“We want to just try to win the rest of our games,” Pitt guard Ashlee Anderson said. “We’re going to compete the rest of the season and then go into the Big East tournament like ‘Let’s come in here and shock some people.’”

Pitt hopes a road game win against Cincinnati (12-12, 3-8 Big East) on Saturday will help solve some of the team’s issues.

The Panthers should find some confidence from Cincinnati’s home record in Big East play. The Bearcats have lost all five of their games at home but are coming off a 60-56 win over Providence on the road.

Cincinnati is led by two guards: redshirt sophomore Dayeesha Hollins and senior Bjonee Reaves, who average 16.6 and 12.9 points, respectively.

The Panthers will continue to be short on depth as the prognosis on sophomore Asia Logan’s shoulder injury is grim.

As of Wednesday, Pitt head coach Agnus Berenato said Logan, who didn’t play Saturday at Marquette, hadn’t been cleared to practice since the injury on Jan. 31 and won’t see time in Cincinnati. She’s listed as day-to-day, and Berenato said she believes Logan will be out for the season.

While Pitt’s players said they believe they are playing solid defense, Pitt leads the Big East in points allowed at 70.1 per game. Berenato said that the team’s inability to convert offensively negatively affects its defense.

“If you make a shot you’re able to go ahead and get in a press,” she said. “I think defensively we just have to start doing more full-court defense off of missed shots so we slow down their offensive attack.”

Berenato described the team’s recent offensive output as “really disappointing.” She added that she’s a big believer in the truism “he who hesitates is lost.” Her Pitt team has been hesitating on offense lately.

“When you lose games and miss shots, it plays tricks on you,” she said. “You question yourself. ‘Should I take it? Shouldn’t take it?’”

She said that the Panthers have used scrimmages with male practice players and competitive shooting drills in order to work on their offense.

Freshman point guard Brianna Kiesel said the team plays its best in transition, so making the most of fast break opportunities is crucial.

“We have to get easy transition buckets,” Kiesel said. “We get in transition, and it helps us a lot … It opens everything up. Our shots aren’t usually open. They’re contested because we don’t penetrate as much as we should.”

Anderson said she isn’t worried that the team’s poor performance this year will have a negative impact in the future.

“It just makes you more focused and more determined to get better in the offseason because you know that you have to get better or you’re gonna have the same results as years previous,” Anderson said.

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