Beatdown at the Pete

Ok, so, not a shocker, Pitt beat Seton Hill by a whopping score of 102-51. Tough to gauge too much from a blowout game against an incredibly inferior team. A lot of people were ready to panic because Seton Hill kept it close early (VERY early) but that happens in almost every game against an inferior team where they think they can run with Pitt for about 4 or 5 minutes, but it always goes downhill from there. Three-point shooting for the Panthers kept them out of it a little early, but Pitt shot 7-for-12 from beyond the arc in the second half, and it looks like long-distance shooting will be, if not a strength this year, certainly not a glaring weakness.

Surprise for the Panthers in the lineup department- Ashton Gibbs started at point guard, along with Brad Wanamaker at shooting guard. I wouldn’t take too much from this, as Ashton started because of the defense that Seton Hill ran, though it might say something about the Panthers having a fluid starting lineup. Like I said before, Jamie has a very good problem in finding minutes for everybody, but one or two players who saw significant minutes yesterday will be left out of the main rotation for the majority of the season. Ashton and Travon did very well jobs running the point, though they both lack the ability of Levance to drive and kick–however, Jermaine Dixon drove the lane and dumped off at the last minute quite a few times, a dimension that sucked the Griffins defense in and allowed for much better second half shooting. If Jermaine can keep that up, he’ll find himself playing quite a few minutes this year. I was also very impressed with Jermaine’s perimeter defense and I don’t think he’s going to be anywhere close to a bust this year for the Panthers.

I have to say that I was REALLY impressed with the ability of the Zoo to show up yesterday. The bottom bowl was nearly full, and that’s saying a lot considering the addition of section 6J brings that lower bowl up over 1,000 students. For those students from that section: on free throws, please do not wave your arms wildly. Watch the rest of the Zoo for help–hold your arms to the left, then fling them to the right upon release of the opposing team’s shot. Also a great job by the Zoo to come up with nicknames for the Seton Hill players that weren’t too insulting: I heard “High school musicial,” “chin beard,” “Awkward,” among others. If we can keep that going without resorting to curse words, that only speaks worlds about the creativity and class of this student section, something we pride ourselves on. Not a great job on the jumping and screaming, but hey, it’s a preseason game. We’ve all got things to improve on, team and fans, and we’ve got another week to gear up for exhibition game #2.

Also, I want to see at least 100 students for the women’s preseason game on Wednesday night. It’s free, it’s at 7pm on a Wednesday, and there’s no reason a lot of you can’t make it out there to see the nationally ranked women take on a team of post-grads, some of whom are playing in the WNBA. Should be a much more competitive game than Pitt-Seton Hill, and we need to give Agnus Berenato that home-court advantage she desperatly wants and needs.

Basketball Season’s Not Over Yet

Most people don’t realize we do have another Pitt Panthers team playing basketball, and they just moved into the Sweet 16. The women, lead by coach Agnus Berenato and dynamic guard Shavonte Zellous, defeated Baylor last night 67-59 to move into the first Sweet 16 in program history. The Bears, who were 25-6 on the season, were unable to compete with Pitt’s inside game, even after Marcedes Walker fouled out with about five minutes left in the game.

It’s kind of sad that this team, who’s already won 24 games this season, gets such little recognition from the rest of the University body. These Panthers also overcame a rough stretch in February to make it to the semifinals of the Big East tournament before losing to #1 overall seed UConn (unless you’ve been living under a rock, the Huskies perennially have one of the top women’s basketball teams). However, after defeating the Wyoming Cowgirls 63-58, the Panthers found themselves facing the 12th ranked Baylor in the second round, and managed to pull out a very convincing victory.

The Panthers were ranked 27th in the final poll of the regular season, and should see that number rise no matter what happens the rest of the tournament. Senior Marcedes Walker has had a phenomonal season, averaging 14 points and nearly 10 rebounds as the centerpiece in the Pitt offense. Zellous has also had a great season, scoring at an 18 ppg clip- a number that increases to nearly 20 during conference play. The Panthers have had an unprecedented season, and there’s still time for more magic in the NCAAs. They now advance to face the #4 ranked Stanford Cardinal in the regional semifinal on Saturday at noon. This is another incredibly tough task for the Panthers, but with nothing to lose, this is a very dangerous team.

"How about that game y’all?"

Agnus, you warm my heart…

Congratulations to the women’s team tonight on their defeat of WVU. WVU came in having blown us out in Morgantown, now ranked at #13. A hard fought game to say the least, each team scored 34 points in both halves, sending the game into overtime at 68-68.

The Panthers held a lead for nearly the entire OT period and held on during the last few possessions and came out with the biggest upset in Petersen Event Center history.

The final score of 77-75 will give us one more number to hold with pride when we invade WVU next Monday.

Limited tickets are still available from the Zoo, so if you are interested please try to get in contact with a Zoo leader tomorrow night at the Cinci game.

Now that the ladies have broken our long losing streak, our men can go out and crush Cinci and make up for that lousy game we played on the road earlier this season.

Pink the Pete

Tomorrow at 2pm, your #18 women’s basketball team will take on the #2 UConn Huskies in the inaugural “Pink the Pete” event.

During the past two weeks there has been a national push to promote breast cancer awareness in women’s basketball. Many teams across the country have had similar events. Last Sunday, Pitt donned pink uniforms in their game at Notre Dame. Notre Dame was too cool to wear any pink for their own event, but tomorrow we will see the Panthers dress in new white home jerseys with pink accents against the UConn women in all pink road jerseys.

The Oakland Zoo has made 3000 pink breast cancer ribbons for the event. Some ribbons were sold earlier this week to raise money for breast cancer research and the rest will be donated tomorrow and handed out to all fans in attendance.

Everyone is encouraged to wear pink and students will be given free pink t-shirts by the athletic department to commemorate the event.

Even if you haven’t seen a women’s game yet this year, or ever, come out tomorrow and see two of the top 20 teams in the country battle. Agnus has really grown Pitt an awesome program in her time here and they have been ranked as high as #14 this season. They have really held their own in a tough Big East conference that at one point had 7 of the top 20 teams in the RPI.

Pitt narrowly lost to Rutgers at home, who then beat UConn for their only loss of the year.
Pitt won substantially at home against Syracuse, who gave UConn one of their closest games of the year.

Agnus goes digital

For those of you that download the Pitt Athletics Podcast (all three of you) you noticed that Women’s Basketball coach Agnus Berenato has her own podcast, starting today.

She has done several interviews so far and today was the first show devoted to her. I assume this will be either a weekly show or a per-game recap of sorts.

For those of you who live in a cave and don’t know what a podcast is, I’ll clear it up for you:

The athletic department’s website has a podcast section.
If you aren’t an iTunes user, you can choose to download the new shows right from that page.
If you have iTunes, you can click here to open up the podcast in iTunes. If you have this set up, it will automatically download each new show for you, and you can sync it to your iPod.

If you haven’t yet come to the realization that the women are worth watching (and your $0 price of admission) then you should come out to their next home game on December 5. They have four away games before then, and you can be sure to get Agnus’s report on her show.

I applaud the athletic department for starting up these shows, it seems too often that the school jumps on the technology bandwagon too late. It is a great way to hear about all of the different sports going on right now, not just basketball.
I applaud Agnus, particularly, for seeing an opportunity to communicate directly with the fans. Obviously she doesn’t get the media attention that Jamie does, so this is a perfect solution.

Great Season Women

First off I would like to that in no way am I the authority or pretend to know anything about women’s basketball. Barring a couple of games last year I never watched much of the women’s team. Last night I think that I became a full convert and I am now a fan.

Watching Tennessee and “Juwanna Man” Candice Parker(not meant as an insult so much as a recognition of great talent) have four players on the floor that could guard our biggest match-up problem Marcedes Walker, I have no idea how we stayed in the game. Every shot that we took was contested, due to the obvious physical advantages that the Lady Vols had. Shavonte Zellous hit a ton of big shots with, at times, multiple hands in her face. Walker used her size to basically muscle 19 points while getting battered down low. The second half our ladies completely outplayed them but in the end they just had too much size and too much depth for us to handle.

We lost by 14 but playing against the odds that isn’t a failure at all. Just a couple years ago the team was under.500 and the program was non-existant on the national stage. Now under Coach Berenato we are becoming a blossoming national power. Its completely shocking and impressive that she could turn around the team so fast.

I really can’t wait to see what the next couple of years hold for Pitt Women’s Basketball. Thanks for a great game and a great season ladies.

Women’s NCAA Tournament Update

Since the first post, some things have changed, including the opportunity for free tickets, free t-shirts and other stuff, and the chance to win an iPod:

The first 300 students to meet in the quad at 6:15pm tomorrow will recieve a FREE ticket to the game, and with that ticket you will be entered into a drawing to win a free iPod. Also, the first 100 people in the quad will receive a free t-shirt. At 6:30 all students will walk up to the Pete together to cheer on the women as they take on Tennessee at 7pm.

The athletic department sent out an email saying the first 300 people to be up at the Pete by 6:30 will receive a free ticket. The 300 have first priority to those people in the quad, then everybody up at the Pete. The athletic department email was sent out prior to our planning meeting.

So be at the quad between 6 and 6:15 tomorrow, get free tickets and t-shirts and a chance to win an iPod, and come up to watch the women take on Tennessee.

No reason what so ever not to come, so we’ll see you all there tomorrow. Hail to Pitt!!!