Despite slow start, Kiesel leads Pitt past Clemson
By: Andrew Stern
Senior Day wasn’t one to remember for Brianna Kiesel, at least initially. The senior started 1-8 from the floor, and scored just four points in the first half.
To make matters worse, her Panthers, down by as many as 15, faced an eight-point deficit at halftime.
Despite this, the confidence never waned for this young bunch. Kiesel stayed aggressive, scoring 18 points of her 22 points in the second half.
Her first three pointer of the half was memorable, as it moved the senior from Upstate New York into fifth place on the all-time Pitt Basketball scoring list, tying the game in the process.
“Well needless to say, the first half wasn’t pretty” coach Suzy McConnell-Serio said after the game.
Following the halftime break, the Panthers came out with way more aggression, and this attitude change allowed Pitt to tie the game at 40 heading into the under 12 media timeout.
“We made a run to cut into the lead, and needless to say I jumped them at halftime. Challenged them, and attacked their pride a little bit. [I] talked about this season a little bit, and just letting something special slip away, and how we wouldn’t let it happen” the second year coach said.
After the timeout, Kiesel knocked down a free throw to give the Panthers a one point lead, the teams first of the contest.
Despite losing the large lead, Clemson didn’t back down. In fact the Tigers still led with 7:05 left in the game.
This lead would be the final time that Clemson (9-20, 1-15 ACC) enjoyed an advantage on the scoreboard for the reminder of the contest.
The Panthers used a 12-6 run, to win the ball game by five. The win was important, as it assured the Panthers would be the seventh seed in next week’s ACC Tournament.
Despite fouling out late in the game, Yacine Diop added 18 points and eight rebounds. Fellow freshman Stasha Carey added nine points and 11 rebounds, the last of which, an offensive rebound, came with 44 seconds remaining and all but clinched the win for the Panthers.
Pitt will next play Thursday evening, most likely against the winner of Virginia Tech and NC State. Tipoff is slated for 6:00 PM EST.
“This is the first year we haven’t been 14th or 15th going in, so it’s great that we don’t have to play the first day” Kiesel said.
“Who would have thought the University of Pittsburgh would be number seven in the ACC. Whatever happens in the ACC Tournament we still have more games to play” the senior said.