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Pitt women still young, but more experienced this season

| Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, 7:20 p.m.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Agnus Berenato was fired as Pitt women's basketball coach Monday, April 1, 2013.
Pitt's head coach Agnus Berenato high-fives Brianna Kiesel as Abby Dowd moves out of the way during the basketball media day at the Petersen Events Center on Thursday October 11, 2012. Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
The Pitt women's basketball takes the team photograph during the basketball media day at the Petersen Events Center on Thursday October 11, 2012. Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review

Members of the Pitt women's basketball team said Thursday that while they haven't forgotten about the miserable 2011-12 season, they aren't dwelling on it heading into 2012-13.

“It's our last season in the Big East, and we have to prove ourselves after going 0-16 last year,” redshirt junior Ashlee Anderson said. “We want to leave the Big East with a winning record and a championship. We want to leave our mark on the Big East.”

Last season was one for the record books — but not in the way any team would want.

It was the first time in program history the Panthers failed to win a Big East game, and they ended the season on a 15-game losing streak, the longest in program history.

Pitt was the youngest team in the nation last season, with all freshmen and sophomores. Coach Agnus Berenato said Thursday her team will be young again this season but at least more experienced.

“We do have leadership,” she said. “I couldn't say that last year.”

As she did throughout the second half of last season, Berenato said the team belongs to point guard Brianna Kiesel, a unanimous selection to the All-Big East freshman team last year.

“We weren't as successful as I would have liked to have been, but coming in, I'm like, ‘Wow, we have a lot to look forward to,' ” said Kiesel, who led the team in scoring (13.6 points per game) and minutes (36.3 per game). “As a team, we grew, including myself.”

Kiesel could slide into the shooting guard spot when freshman Brittany Gordon comes off the bench. Top recruit Loliya Briggs, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, will fill the primary shooting guard spot, with Anderson and Abby Dowd at small forward. Junior Asia Logan should start at the four spot, with freshman Krista Pettepier and sophomores Chyna Golden and Cora McManus sharing time at center.

Freshman Marvadene “Bubbles” Anderson, a 6-foot-11 center, will redshirt this season.

The team has been practicing since Oct. 1, and Dowd said she's noticed a difference in the chemistry and flow.

“I just feel like while losing's definitely not ideal, there are so many things that we learned from it,” she said. “It's a new season, and we're moving forward.”

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7980 kprice@tribweb.com.

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