For the past two seasons, Pitt's women's basketball team has struggled. That led to a coaching change as Agnus Berenato was ousted at the end of last year and first-year coach Suzie McConnell-Serio showed a bit of improvement in her first season.
The Panthers weren't real good - no 11-20 team is. They were also defeated in their first game of the ACC Tournament by Wake Forest, ending their season early. But the 11 victories were the most by the program since 2010-11. In addition, Pitt not only broke their winless conference streak, but won three ACC games this year. That, if nothing else, at least gave some optimism:
"We are [better] in a lot of ways," McConnell-Serio said. "In team chemistry, in leadership, in fight, in playing with passion."
One of those returning players, junior point guard Kiesel, said she was confident McConnell-Serio had the program heading in the right direction.
"She's a great coach," Kiesel said. "She brought the best out of all of us. We had three conference wins [this year] and, in the past two [years] I've played we had none. That's a step in the right direction."
The program still has a long way to go. That said, it also isn't all that far removed from their consecutive Sweet 16 seasons and McConnell-Serio will have a chance to get them back to that level. There are some good returning players, including Brianna Kiesel, the program had a top 15 recruiting class in 2013, and Pitt also expects to get center Bubbles Anderson back from injury at some point.
Lots of work to do, but the team did take at least a small step forward.