McConnell-Serio re-works successful system at Pitt
By John Harris
Published: Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, 10:36 p.m.
New Pitt women's basketball coach Suzie McConnell-Serio has a great deal of confidence in her system that produced five consecutive 20-win seasons across town at Duquesne.
“As a coach, I always have high expectations,” McConnell-Serio said Thursday during media day. “Personally, I go into a season wanting to win 20-plus games. As a coach, you try to make them believe they're better than they are.”
Changing jobs while remaining in her native Western Pennsylvania, McConnell-Serio accepted the daunting challenge of turning around a Pitt program coming off three straight losing seasons while making the transition from the Big East to the ACC.
And while McConnell-Serio's system helped her craft an impressive resume at Duquesne, it's a system predicated on strong guard play and quickness. As a result, McConnell-Serio will have to scale down her system — at least in the beginning — to accommodate four post players, including 6-foot-11 redshirt freshman Marvandene “Bubbles” Anderson.
“We have a lot of work to be done,” McConnell-Serio said. “I've always played smaller and more up-tempo. When you have a player who's (6-11), that's not going to cut it. You're not going to be putting those players at the 3-point line to be an offensive threat.”
It's a delicate balance, but it's one that McConnell-Serio believes her roster can handle.
The offense will start with guards Brianna Kiesel and Ashlee Anderson. Kiesel is the team's leading returning scorer and top passer with 89 assists last season. Anderson has played in 91 career games, more than any current Pitt player.
“It will start with our guards,” said McConnell-Serio, who was the point guard for two U.S. Olympic teams. She also starred in the WNBA and set several NCAA assist records at Penn State. “Bri will dictate the tempo offensively. She will stop the ball defensively.”
“There's a lot for me to learn from her,” Kiesel said of her new coach. “(She) brought a different type of optimism to the team.”
Said McConnell-Serio: “We try not to talk about the record that this team had previously. That's behind us. We're looking for a fresh start in the ACC.”
John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JHarris_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitt QB Savage turns down NYC invite to NFL Draft
- Donald turns down New York invite for NFL Draft
- Former Pitt captain Cavanaugh blazes trail as entrepreneur
- Panthers pulling weight for new strength coach