Women's Basketball Previews - Pittsburgh Panthers

WATCH NOW - Media Day Interview with Jania Sims

The BIG Picture

Following a record fifth-straight postseason appearance, Pitt enters 2010-11 with a veteran core and high hopes of advancing to the NCAA Championship for the fourth time in five years. Head coach Agnus Berenato has led the Panthers to five straight winning seasons to go along with five postseason berths. During that span, Pitt has averaged 22 wins per season. With a bevy of seniors, who could leave the program as the winningest class in school history, the Panthers are loaded with experience. Back-to-back NCAA Championship Sweet 16 appearances in 2008 and 2009 have given this team a winning foundation.

Who's Returning
A strong senior class, including All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention performers Chelsea Cole and Jania Sims lead the way. Cole, a forward, averaged 9.1 points and a league-leading 11.6 rebounds in conference play. Sims is a guard who posted 12.9 points per contest. Mix in sizeable contributions from senior guards Shayla Scott (10.2 ppg) and Brittaney Thomas (8.6 ppg), along with senior guard Taneisha Harrison (12.9 ppg) and it equals a wealth of experience and production. Scott also averaged 5.7 rebounds per game last year. The Panthers could conceivably start five seniors.

Who's Gone
The Panthers will go forward without the services of would-be juniors Pepper Wilson, Kate Popovec and Sarah Ogoke following the transfer of all three players. Wilson was a 2008-09 All-Big East Rookie Team selection who averaged 6.8 points and 6.4 rebounds. She played in 33 games and started 32.

Storylines
With five seniors and six freshmen, the Panthers will be an interesting mix of experience and youth. Blending a core of players who have significant postseason experience, with highly touted freshmen could be a challenge, but under the direction of coach Agnus Berenato, there is a steady presence. Entering her eighth season with the Panthers, Berenato earned her 400th career win last season. She has rejuvinated the program and led it to its first NCAA Championship berths.