The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
By James Carter, Staff Writer • June 20, 2024
Opinion | NHL needs to bring specialty jerseys back
By Jameson Keebler, Senior Staff Columnist • June 19, 2024
Opinion | Hold your elected officials morally responsible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 18, 2024

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Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
By James Carter, Staff Writer • June 20, 2024
Opinion | NHL needs to bring specialty jerseys back
By Jameson Keebler, Senior Staff Columnist • June 19, 2024
Opinion | Hold your elected officials morally responsible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 18, 2024

Staff Picks | Pitt women’s basketball season predictions

Junior+Guard+Bella+Perkins+%2810%29+goes+for+a+layup+during+Monday+night%E2%80%99s+exhibition+game+against+Point+Park+in+the+Petersen+Events+Center.
Bronco York | Staff Photographer
Junior Guard Bella Perkins (10) goes for a layup during Monday night’s exhibition game against Point Park in the Petersen Events Center.

With new head coach Tory Verdi at the helm, Pitt women’s basketball will look to make a big leap this season. The Pitt News sports desk gives its predictions for how the Panthers will fare in Verdi’s first year as head coach.

Pitt women’s basketball shows improvement but still doesn’t crack 15 wins // Brian Sherry, Sports Editor 

New Pitt women’s basketball head coach Verdi has immense potential to rebuild the Panthers into contenders in the near future. Verdi is a proven program builder, as he helped UMass earn its first NCAA Tournament bid in 24 years in 2022. 

Still, Verdi will need time to adjust to ACC basketball and to instill a winning culture at Pitt. The Panthers will play to their abilities this year and may even take down a few superior teams along the way. But the Panthers’ talent still does not stack up to other ACC programs, which will hold them back this season.

Look for junior guard Bella Perkins to make a serious impact this season for the Panthers. The USC transfer saw limited playing time last year with the Trojans, but has the talent to lead the Panthers’ backcourt this season. Senior forward Liatu King will also lead Pitt this season. The senior forward is a returning two-year starter and will provide much-needed veteran leadership to a young Pitt program.

Panthers win 13 games under new head coach // Jermaine Sykes, Assistant Sports Editor

Pitt women’s basketball is predicted to finish last in the ACC this season. Under Verdi, the Panthers hope to prove their doubters wrong.

But after losing six of their seven leaders in points per game last season, the Panthers need to create production from unlikely sources. Senior forward Liatu King leads the way, but she needs help from her teammates — most of whom weren’t on the roster a year ago.

Still, under Verdi, the Panthers will surpass their win-loss record from a year ago and win 13 games, including two ACC matchups against Boston College and Wake Forest. 

Panthers fail to win 15 games, finish the year strong // Eli Smith, Staff Writer

Under Verdi, I predict the Panthers will go through some growing pains. Losing significant contributors and having to call on unknown talent, and Verdi has his work cut out for him. 

The Panthers will start this season abysmally and will look like the worst team in the ACC. Things will improve for the team, however, and they will finish the year on a five-game win streak, possibly six if they can upset the waning powerhouse North Carolina on Feb. 15. 

Panthers improve to 15 wins with a season to build upon // Alex Porter, Staff Writer

In his first year with a completely revamped roster, head coach Verdi and his Pitt women’s basketball team have few expectations.

As the team consists of five transfers, four returners and three first-years, it will take time for the Panthers to find chemistry. Additionally, Verdi will have to adjust to the talent level of coaching against ACC competition.

While the results might now show, the Panthers will make little improvements that lead to tournament births in years to come. But after struggling the past few seasons, expect a reinvigorated Pitt team to surprise some ACC foes and even upset a few.

Panther fans will look back on this season as the beginning of a new era, as Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke revives yet another underappreciated program.

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