No. 24 Pittsburgh 75, St Francis, Pa 70Nov 25, 2009 - 2:58 AM PITTSBURGH(AP) -- Agnus Berenato's 400th coaching win didn't come as easy as expected.
Taneisha Harrison tied a career high with 25 points, Jania Sims added a career-high 23 points, and No. 24 Pittsburgh beat St. Francis, Pa. 75-70 Tuesday night.
"It was a hard-fought win," said Berenato, who improved to 400-338 in 26 seasons as a head coach - the past seven at Pittsburgh. "It's always hard when you play an in-state team... I think the whole level of intensity and the whole level of emotions goes up for both teams."
The Panthers (3-0) were coming off a 23-point win over Florida that had propelled them into the top 25 but were challenged by a Red Flash (0-4) team that came in having been outscored by an average of 20.3 points.
St. Francis used a 12-1 in the second half to pull to within 55-50 and got as close as 71-68 and 73-70 during the final 1:19.
"We certainly don't take any moral victories - that's not our style," Red Flash coach Susan Robinson Fruchtl said. "But our kids did play very hard and battled and showed mental toughness."
Samantha Leach led the Red Flash with 20 points and seven rebounds, and Britney Hodges added 16 to give her 1,007 for her career.
St. Francis was the runner-up in the Northeast Conference last season and has scheduled Marquette, Boston College, Cincinnati and Virginia the past two seasons.
"We've played a lot of Big East teams, and I think our kids, especially the older ones, know what to expect," Robinson Fruchtl said. "They knew we were underdogs, but that doesn't mean we don't do what we do."
Harrison, who also had seven rebounds and six assists, scored 25 points for the second consecutive game.
"I'm getting more confidence," Harrison said. "The coaches are showing confidence in me, so I'm just going out there and just playing."
Sims had a game-high seven assists for the Panthers, who were 6-20 when Berenato took over in 2003-04 but have made it to the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament each of the past two seasons - which she said means more to her than her victories milestone.
"I'm very into statistics, but I'm not into those statistics," Berenato said. "I think someone said once that if you're in it for long enough, those statistics happen and you get wins. I guess I've been in it for so long that I'd either get 400 wins or 400 losses. But I'm ecstatic I did it at Pitt."
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