Women’s Basketball: Kiesel’s late shot lifts Panthers to second ACC win


The evolution of a coach and her point guard came full circle on one play Thursday night.

After a game in which the Pitt women’s basketball team hadn’t held a lead since 14:02 of the first half, it snagged an advantage with just three seconds to go. Junior point guard Brianna Kiesel scored, giving the Panthers a lead that would catapult them to their second ACC victory of the season.

Pitt (10-11, 2-5 ACC) battled back and beat Boston College, 67-65, on Thursday night at the Petersen Events Center in dramatic fashion, ending the game on an 8-0 run that led to the first home conference win since 2011.

“I am so proud of these players,” head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said. “Our players continue to believe in each other, and it finally has paid off.”

It was a back-and-forth bout between Boston College and Pitt, two of the lower-tier ACC teams, for the first five minutes of the contest.

Pitt grabbed an early four-point lead with 14:29 to go on a layup by senior forward Asia Logan, but only held it for a minute and 30 seconds.

The Panthers were never able to regain the advantage in the first half.

With 10:43 remaining, Boston College made a 12-0 run to extend their lead to 28-15 over the course of the next five minutes.

Most of the Panthers’ success came when they were able to break the zone defense by getting the ball inside, as they posted 10 points in the paint. Most of that success came courtesy of Logan, who sank a three-point shot with 10 seconds remaining to cut the Eagles’ lead to 37-27 — a score that stayed that way headed into halftime.

Logan led the way with 12 points in the first 20 minutes and was the only Panther to reach double-digits in scoring.

Pitt shot just three first-half free throws, compared to Boston College’s 11. The Eagles were a perfect 11-for-11 from the charity stripe.

Boston College was disciplined defensively and spent the majority of the first half in a 2-3 zone, holding Pitt to just 36.7 percent shooting from the field.

The Eagles also had a faster tempo of play, often getting out in transition in the first half, but surrendered 10 turnovers in the half. Pitt managed to score 11 of its 27 first-half points off those turnovers.

In the second half, the Panthers were much more aggressive on the offensive end, reaching the foul line 12 times and converting 11 of those chances.

Pitt cut the Boston College lead to just two with 4:47 remaining when Logan hit a jumper in the lane, giving the Panthers life and revitalizing the crowd.

With a chance to tie the game on the next possession, Logan appeared to convert a basket-and-the-foul opportunity, but an offensive foul call stopped what looked to be Pitt’s last shot at tying the game.

The Panthers continued clawing their way back into the game, and four straight points from Logan brought the deficit back to two once again.

Following Kiesel’s basket that tied the score with 45 seconds left, redshirt sophomore Loliya Briggs drew an offensive foul that proved to be the second-most important play of the game.

With only one second separating the game clock and shot clock, McConnell-Serio called a timeout and drew up a play to get the ball in the hands of her best player, Kiesel.

As the shot clock ticked away, Kiesel drove down the left side of the lane and lofted a runner that bounced gently off the glass and fell through the net with just 3.1 seconds remaining and the Panthers leading by two.

“Our go-to play was with the ball in [Kiesel’s] hands and a flat ball screen in the middle of the floor,” McConnell-Serio said. “Either way, she was getting a screen with man or zone.”

“She picks her moments and none bigger than tonight when she hits the game-winner,” she continued.

A last-second effort by Boston College fell just short as time ticked off.

Logan finished with a team-high and season-high 24 points.

Pitt returns to action on Monday, Feb. 3, when they host Georgia Tech at 7:00 p.m.