Panthers look to end 3-game losing streak at home


Leading up to its next ACC contest, the Pitt women’s basketball team got a piece of good news.

Though it was certainly welcomed, the news had little to do with how the team will fare this season or any season after, for that matter. 

Pittsburgh was selected as one of seven finalist cities to host four future NCAA Women’s Final Fours between 2017 and 2020. Pitt joined forces with Consol Energy Center and VisitPittsburgh to submit a bid to host the games this past November. 

“I think we have the resources that we could do it,” head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said. “I think it would be amazing if it was in Pittsburgh.”

Consol Energy Center, home of the Pittsburgh Penguins and host to the annual City Game between the Panthers’ men’s basketball team and Duquesne, hosted second and third rounds of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in 2012 and will do so again in 2015.

Other finalists include: Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Houston; Nashville, Tenn.; New Orleans, and Tampa Bay, Fla. Of the aforementioned cities, only New Orleans and Tampa Bay have previously hosted Final Fours. 

The next step in the process comes in November 2014, when the winning bids will be revealed after the NCAA Committee visits each of the seven respective cities. 

Though it doesn’t directly affect this Pitt team, the potential for more good news down the road may give the current Panthers (9-11, 1-5 ACC) the boost they need after losing their last three games by a combined 98 points.

Coming into an easier part of its conference schedule, Pitt will host Boston College (11-10, 2-5 ACC) on Thursday night at the Petersen Events Center. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. 

After winning two of its first four ACC games this season, the Eagles have dropped three straight games to conference foes North Carolina, NC State and Wake Forest.

Those struggles may be caused by the absence of a superior scorer, a role Brianna Kiesel serves for Pitt. 

Boston College has three players that average double figures — senior guard Kristen Doherty, senior forward Katie Zenevitch and sophomore guard Nicole Boudreau — but outside of the production from the three regulars, the Eagles’ bench struggles to score.

Pitt will be tasked with neutralizing an Eagles offense that is not quite as efficient as the Panthers’ recent opponents — namely No. 2 Notre Dame, a team that scored 109 points versus Pitt, and No. 3 Duke, who posted 111 points in a win over the Panthers at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Jan. 26.

Junior guard Brianna Kiesel will be asked to once again carry the load on offense for Pitt. She enters the game averaging 18 points per game, good for sixth in the ACC.

Despite the loss, she extended her streak of posting double-figure scoring in a game to 26.

Senior Asia Logan, the only Pitt player along with Kiesel to start every game this season, will be asked to complement Kiesel on the offensive end while also scoring close to her season average of 12 points. 

The matchup is the first of two straight home games for the Panthers, as they will host Georgia Tech on Monday evening.