Wolfpack falls to Kiesel and Pitt, 60-50

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network
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Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network
Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

RALEIGH, N.C. – Brianna Kiesel’s 28-point performance led the Pittsburgh Panthers to a 60-50 win over the N.C. State Wolfpack at Reynolds Coliseum on Thursday.

Dominique Wilson led the Wolfpack (12-10, 3-6) with 11 points, while Miah Spencer and Len’Nique Brown posted nine and eight points apiece.

In addition to Kiesel, Yacine Diop finished with a double-double (11 points, 16 rebounds) to help Pitt (15-7, 5-4) earn the win and move further up in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) standings.

Throughout the game, it was evident that it would be a close game.

The lead changed 10 times while both teams traded scoring opportunities as a result of committing a combined 36 turnovers.

Scoring from the perimeter was expected as each squad was averaging seven three’s per game.

Pitt finished with six while State ended up with four baskets from beyond the arc.

Brown and Diop led all scorers early on with seven points apiece, but it was the N.C. State guard who dropped a jumper just as the horn sounded at the half that extended the Wolfpack lead to 30-25.

However, State’s shooting eventually went dormant as a 20-percent performance from the field during the second half allowed Kiesel to spur a comeback for Pitt after trailing by as many as 10.

“We just weren’t makin’ shots,” Spencer said.

“I thought we had some good looks, some good attacks to the basket. They just weren’t fallin’.”

The Panthers guard scored 24 points during the final 20 minutes and singlehandedly won the game while becoming the first player in Pitt history to record over 1500 career points, 500 career rebounds, and 400 career assists.

“Brianna put this team on her back during the second half,” Pitt head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said.

“We were struggling and not shooting the ball well. We were just making poor decisions offensively, not getting good looks. Coming into a timeout I probably challenged her and said things to her I haven’t said to her since I’ve been here, and she responded.”

Pitt remained consistent throughout the game, firing at 36-percent shooting during each period, while the Wolfpack cut its first-half scoring rate (45%) by more than half.

Following the break, N.C. State still managed to stay in front of Pitt, leading 42-41 with just over eight minutes to play.

That’s when Kiesel took over – completely.

With the exception of a jumper from Diop, Kiesel scored the Panthers’ remaining 17 points in the game, and Pitt ended up crashing the boards harder and outrebounding the Wolfpack 41-34 overall.

The loss was the fourth in as many games for N.C. State, and left head coach Wes Moore wondering how much more his team could endure after once again relinquishing a lead during the second half.

“Déjà vu all over again,” Moore said.

“We hit another bad stretch where we couldn’t score…Right now it’s hard to know who to go to when you’re hittin’ a drought. Gotta’ have somebody you can put the ball in their hands. Obviously they did that with Kiesel tonight. She stepped up…Back to the drawing board and figure out what we can do to avoid having those stretches where we can’t seem to get a bucket.”