The Pitt women’s basketball team was bounced from the ACC tournament by Boston College on Wednesday afternoon, as the Eagles dealt the Panthers a 67-56 loss that ended their season. The outcome dropped the team to 5-14 and concluded Lance White’s third straight losing season at Pitt.
With the loss, White’s record now sits at 21-60, and he has yet to log a winning campaign. In addition, the former Florida State associate head coach has regressed from his first season in Pittsburgh, when the Panthers went 11-20, winning 35.5 percent of their games. Since then, Pitt went 5-26 last season, winning just 16.1 percent of its games, and 5-14 this season for a winning percentage of 26.3.
White’s overall record at Pitt places his total winning percentage at 25.9, meaning his teams have won only a quarter of their games since he became the head coach of the program. That compares poorly with his predecessor, Suzie McConnell-Serio, who also posted an 11-20 record in her first season at Pitt but then led the team to a 20-12 mark the next season.
With that, McConnell-Serio posted more wins in two years than White did in three, and while she did not post another winning record at Pitt, she never allowed the team to sink to a state quite as hopeless as it has become under White. Specifically, she kept the team relatively competitive, never posting fewer than 10 wins in a season. She also went 67-87 over five years and won 43.5 percent of her games.
White also compares unfavorably to one of the most disappointing basketball coaches to ever set foot on Pitt’s campus. Kevin Stallings, the men’s coach who was unceremoniously relieved of his duties one month before White’s arrival in 2018, went 24-41 during his tumultuous two-season stint in Pittsburgh, winning three more games than White and posting a 36.9 overall win percentage.
With that said, Stallings was also a public relations liability for the school in addition to being unsuccessful on the court, as his erratic behavior led to multiple incidents, likely hastening Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke’s decision to push him out the door. White, on the other hand, has remained professional in the public eye in addition to recruiting well. He also has the added benefit of having been hired by Lyke, so he may have a longer leash than Stallings or McConnell-Serio ever did.
In addition, Pitt is likely to return at least 12 of the 15 players on its roster, and the three seniors have the option of accepting an additional season of eligibility from the NCAA as winter sport athletes. One of the team’s two rising juniors is New Mexico transfer Jayla Everett, who led the team in scoring, with 15.4 points per game, and earned All-ACC honorable mention. Everett will be flanked in the Pitt backcourt by Dayshanette Harris, who poured in 12.4 points per game this season. So despite the poor results, there are a few reasons for Lyke to keep White in the fold.
All things considered, the White era at Pitt has not been a success and may never become one if the current trend persists. In fact, at this point, even back-to-back 20-win seasons would not earn the coach a winning overall record. But given Lyke’s belief in the importance of continuity in program development, it seems White will be afforded every opportunity to right the ship before a change is made.