by Malik Vincent

Duquesne Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach Carmen Bruce had several reasons to move back home to Pittsburgh for good.

Not unlike when she moved from tree-lined Shadyside’s Winchester-Thurston, a prestigious private school, to inner-city Schenley and became a high school star.

WATCHFUL EYE—Carmen Bruce, who grew up in the South Hills, watches her Dukes do battle alongside head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio during a 62-50 win against Austin Peay on Dec. 30, 2010. Bruce is in her third season as an assistant coach with the Duquesne Women’s basketball program. (Photos/Duquesne University/File)

It was there that she won three city titles and amassed more than 2,100 career points.

“There was so much tradition there,” Bruce said. “When I got there, I realized that it was the best thing that I could have done. It was in the city but it was diverse and there were still kids who went on to great schools.”

Her father, Kirk, a City League standout himself at the former South Hills high, went on to play at Pitt from 1971-75. He also coached the University’s women’s basketball team from 1985-98 and is now their associate athletic director for Olympic Sports.

After high school, Carmen accepted a full scholarship to play at Georgetown whose athletics are as recognizable as its widely noted academic tradition—similar to Schenley, according to Bruce. She enjoyed a two-year career as a starting forward for the Hoyas.

But she realized that she needed to be where her family was, in her hometown.

“My family was traveling up and down the turnpike and driving three or four hours, each game, to see me play,” Bruce said. “I wanted to be closer to them.”

After her sophomore year, Bruce joined the Duquesne women’s basketball team and as a result of NCAA regulations for transfers, she sat out for the 2004-05 season. She scored 921 career points in two years with the Dukes and is still ninth on the school’s all-time list with 290 total assists.

After graduating in 2006, Bruce had an opportunity to further her education with the program. She worked as a graduate assistant and earned a degree in Business Administration from Duquesne’s Palumbo Graduate School of Business.

She was then named assistant coach, in July, 2008.

“I love where I am now and look forward to helping Duquesne become a national powerhouse,” Bruce said.

Bruce was able to gain a familiarity with the DC, Maryland, and Virginia areas, while playing at Georgetown—which is widely known for producing some of the nation’s top talent in women’s basketball, in turn helping to fulfill her duties a coach.

“We find ourselves there quite often for recruiting,” Bruce said. “They know their basketball down there. Winning makes your school more attractive. And there are some people I know down there that used to come to the women’s basketball games and can recognize the best talent down there.”

(Malik Vincent can be reached at

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