Mountaineers, Panthers set for ‘Pink Zone’ game
Published: Thursday, February 3, 2011
Updated: Thursday, February 3, 2011 21:02
"Multimedia Editor John Terry talked with Pittsburgh head women's basketball coach Agnus Berenato about Saturday's game against the Mountaineers."
Pittsburgh has yet to defeat a West Virginia team in Morgantown this year.
The No. 14 West Virginia women's basketball team will try to continue its winning streak when it hosts the Panthers on Saturday at 4 p.m. at the WVU Coliseum.
"No matter what sport it is – football, basketball or tiddlywinks, it always comes down to a brawl," said Pittsburgh head coach Agnus Berenato. "It's no secret that between the Pittsburghers and the West Virginians, there's not a lot of love loss there."
Pittsburgh (10-11, 2-6 Big East Conference) has struggled this season and will have to go up against a West Virginia (20-3, 6-3 Big East Conference) team that is coming off a 59-45 home win over Providence.
Even though his team won against the Friars to end a two-game losing streak, West Virginia head coach Mike Carey hopes his team will continue to get back on track.
"The Providence game was a gut check for us," Carey said. "We didn't play great, but we played well enough to win the game. Hopefully, we can regroup and have a pretty good season."
Carey said despite its slow start, Pittsburgh has begun to pick up momentum and is not a team to take lightly.
The Panthers held a second-half lead when they played at Connecticut on Jan. 22, lost to a ranked Syracuse team by just nine on the road, fell to Marquette in overtime on Jan. 29, and defeated Cincinnati 79-48 Tuesday.
"They are starting to show signs of getting better," Carey said. "They have a lot of talent, and they play hard. We're going to have to play better than what we've been playing."
Pittsburgh enters Saturday's game with four players averaging double-figure scoring.
Jania Sims, who became the fifth player under Berenato to become a 1,000-point scorer against Cincinnati, leads the team scoring an average 13.7 points per game.
Taneisha Harrison is scoring 13.6 points per game, while forward Chelsea Cole is scoring 10 points per game to go along with 9.8 rebounds.
Carey said it will be
important for his team to get back in the rhythm offensively in order to keep up with Pittsburgh's offense. The Mountaineers haven't scored more than 60 points in their last three games.
"We're just struggling to score," Carey said. "When you're not scoring points, all the other phases have to be great to win in this league."
For West Virginia, that means cutting down on turnovers and rebounding on the defensive end of the court – something it has struggled with as of late.
The Mountaineers held just a one-rebound advantage against Providence after giving up 12 offensive rebounds. In its two-game losing streak to Georgetown and DePaul, the Mountaineers were outrebounded in both games, as well.
West Virginia is averaging 18.3 turnovers per game, a number Carey said he would like to be between 13 and 15. The Mountaineers have had more turnovers than assists in nine of their last 10 games, and have yet to have a Big East contest where assists have exceeded turnovers.