The Pitt women’s basketball team registered their third 5-0 start since Agnus Berenato took over as the head coach in the 2003-04 season. In the process, she notched the 400th win of her 26-year career with a 75-70 win over St. Francis.
“I’m very into statistics, but I’m not into those statistics,” said Berenato. “Someone once told me that if you’re in it long enough those statistics happen and you get wins, but I guess that I’ve been in it so long that you’re either going to get 400 wins or 400 losses.”
|DOUBLE-DOUBLE —Pitt’s Chelsea Cole throws in two of her 11 points during the Panthers 80-58 win over Appalachian State Nov. 27. Cole also had 11 rebounds.
Junior guard Taneisha Harrison matched a career-high 25 points that she set Nov. 20 in an 81-58 victory against Florida. Guard Jania Sims also posted an all-time high 23 points over the winless Red Flash. It was just her third game after a series of injuries that kept her off the court since last November in the 08-09 season opener against Texas A&M.
“I’m very happy just being able to play now. After sitting out, I realized that any day can be your last game so I’m excited to be on the court, to be able to score and things like that,” said Sims.
The Lady Panthers were ranked No. 23 by the AP as well as No. 20 in the Coaches/USA Today Poll after blow-out wins against North Florida and Florida with a combined win total margin of 51 points. In those two games, junior Chelsea Cole registered a combined 24 points and 18 rebounds to help them to their first national rankings of the season.
In addition, the Lady Panthers hosted their annual Thanksgiving Tournament, Nov. 27. and 28. at the Petersen Events Center. This year’s invitees were Marshall, Appalachian State, and Miami (Ohio).
Junior guard/forward Shayla Scott of Monroeville, led the Panthers to their fourth victory of the season against Appalachian State in the first-round game, recording a career-high 17 points in a 63-56 win Nov. 27. Sims added 16 points to help Pitt come back from a deficit to knock off the Mountaineers (2-3) of the Southern Conference.
In the second first round game, Marshall knocked off Appalachian State, 83-76.
The consolation game Nov. 28 ended in an overtime thriller with Appalachian State defeating Miami 79-76.
However, Pitt would win the whole thing with an 80-58 bombing of Marshall for the championship. Harrison led all scorers with 15 points, hitting three baskets from three-point range. Sims added 14 points and seven rebounds from the point guard position. Cole put up her second double-double of the season with 11 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
The All-tournament team featured three Lady Panthers-including Sims who was named tournament’s MVP. Cole and Scott were the other two players from Pitt to make the team. Chantelle Handy of Marshall and Courtney Osborn of Miami filled the remaining two spots.
(D.W. Howze can also be reached via e-mail at dwhowze @newpittsburghcourier.com.)