University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Pitt-Johnstown Seal

2008-09 Season Preview

ATH07_281_HC_SashaPalmer_T2008-09 LADY CAT BASKETBALL SEASON PREVIEW
     After a transitional season under new head coach and former Northern Michigan University All-American Sasha Palmer, the Lady Cats are looking to raise the bar for the 2008-09 season.
     The 2007-08 season, which was the Lady Cats’ first competing for championships in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC), proved to be one brimming with challenges.  The team went 10-18 overall, but held its own in the WVIAC, finishing eighth at 9-11.  An overtime loss in the conference tournament’s opening round cost the Lady Cats a trip to Charleston, WV and a spot in the WVIAC Quarterfinals.
      This season, Coach Palmer has enlisted the help of former  Bethany College (WV) women’s basketball assistant coach Erin Eaton.  Eaton comes to Pitt Johnstown as a native of Sebring, Ohio, with years of playing (Elmira (NY) College) and coaching experience under her belt.
     Coach Palmer, Coach Eaton and the Lady Cats look to senior and Second Team All-WVIAC selection Lindsay Cale (Hummelstown, Pa.) for leadership on- and off-the-court.  “Cale brings the most experience at the guard position, and we expect her to be one of the top guards in the conference,” Coach Palmer said of Cale last year’s team leader in scoring.
     Cale also boasts five national statistical rankings, including finishing the 2007-08 season ranked seventh in NCAA Division II in free-throw percentage at 89.7%.  Out of 500 ranked Division II women’s players, Cale also ranked in the top half in points per game (13.1 ppg.), assists per game (2.9 apg.), blocked shots per game (1.3 bpg.) and steals per game (1.9 spg.).
     Also stepping into a leadership position this season is guard Sheena Aden (Sandy Lake, Pa.)Aden made an impact as a freshman last season, and she, along with Cale, look to fill the shoes of graduated leading rebounder Jill Maurer (Johnstown, Pa.) and Krista Britcher (Johnstown, Pa.)Aden was named to the WVIAC All-Freshmen squad after averaging 10.1 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.  With last year’s experience, Coach Palmer will look to her to be more aggressive as a sophomore.
     Kristin Irwin (Bellefonte, Pa.), who was second on the team in shooting percentage (.850) and third in points per game (9.7) a year ago, returns for her senior season.  Despite an injury that kept her out for several games, Irwin will be expected to pick up her game and be a force at both ends of the court.  
     Sophomore forward Qiuana Brown (Monroeville, Pa.) will also play a critical role on this year’s team.  “Q is a good vocal leader and the team’s spark player,” Coach Palmer said.  “She does the intangibles that a coach loves, and she will get you a rebound or charge when you need it.”
     At the point guard spot is junior Chrissy Forster (Lewisberry, Pa.).  “Chrissy is one of our team’s most improved players and one of the top three-point shooters we have,” Coach Palmer said.
     Also returning this season are juniors Chasity Ingram (Johnstown, Pa.) and Kaitlin Urban (Johnstown, Pa.), along with sophomore forward Andrea Dalton (Washington, Pa.).
     After Coach Palmer’s first year of recruiting, five freshmen also have joined the Lady Cat roster.  Monae Baker (Bushkill, Pa./East Stroudsburg North H.S.), Jamie Gennett (Davidsville, Pa./Conemaugh Township H.S.), Sarah Trimarco (Hollidaysburg, Pa./ Hollidaysburg Area H.S.), Analicia Evans (Lancaster, Pa./Hempfield H.S.) and Taylor Griffith (Hollidaysburg, Pa./ Hollidaysburg Area H.S.) look to make their mark on the court this season.  Evans will be the only Lady Cat to red-shirt this season, but she is expected to be a solid contributor in the years to come.
     “I am really excited for this freshman class,” Coach Palmer said.  “We have some great athletes who all had outstanding high school careers.  I’m looking forward to working with them at the college level.”
      The Lady Cats open the season at the Kutztown University Tournament on Nov. 15 and 16.  After tipping off their WVIAC schedule at Seton Hill University on Nov. 19, the Lady Cats will make their 2008-09 debut in the Sports Center on Nov. 22 against Shippensburg University.
     If the Lady Cats plan to make a run at the program’s 17th NCAA Tournament bid, a second-year head coach, her returning starters and her young recruits need to make a statement during their second season in the WVIAC by showing they are able to compete and come out on top.