Panthers earn No. 7 seed in ACC tournament

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Panthers earn No. 7 seed in ACC tournament

By Dan Sostek / Assistant Sports Editor

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There’s a reason that basketball games aren’t played on paper, and Pitt’s women’s team embodies it.

More than four months ago, the Panthers placed last in the official ACC preseason poll. Expectations were miniscule for Pitt in its second year in the ACC. 

The ranking was not unwarranted. The team was coming off a 14th place finish in the 15-team league in 2013-2014 and had lost key contributors Asia Logan and Marvadene “Bubbles” Anderson to graduation and a second consecutive season-ending knee injury, respectively.

Now, in March, head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio and her team have more than half of the conference looking up at the Panthers.

Following a 61-56 victory over Clemson on Senior Day Saturday, Pitt (19-10, 9-7 ACC) clinched seventh place in the ACC, earning the seventh seed and a first-round bye in the upcoming conference tournament in Greensboro this week.

The Panthers will take on the winner of Wednesday’s matchup between the No. 10-seeded North Carolina State and No. 15-seeded Virginia Tech on Thursday at 6 p.m. Pitt has defeated both potential opponents this season, topping the Wolfpack 60-50 on Feb. 5 and the Hokies 53-35 on Feb. 12.

The winner of the contest on Thursday will face the No. 2-seeded Florida State Seminoles on Friday.

Pitt is seeking its first postseason berth since 2009 in large part thanks to the superb play of senior guard Brianna Kiesel, who leads the team with 18.5 points per game. She moved into fifth place on Pitt’s all-time scoring list, passing Marcedes Walker.

The team has also received important contributions from a quartet of new additions. 

Graduate student and former Pitt volleyball player Monica Wignot shined as a rim defender and offensive weapon, leading the team in blocks and finishing second in points per game. 

In addition to Wignot, Pitt added three freshmen to their rotation this year who all contributed immediately. Forwards Stasha Carey and Yacine Diop finished first and second on the team in rebounding, respectively, while Aysia Bugg showed some promise as a slashing guard.

Regardless of their play in the ACC tournament, the Panthers will discover their postseason fate on March 16, when the NCAA Tournament field is officially announced.

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