University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Pitt-Johnstown Seal

2009-10 Season Preview

ATH07_281_HC_SashaPalmer_T2009-10 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SEASON PREVIEW
     Fresh off the program’s first trip to the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) semifinals and an 18-12 overall mark, the Lady Cats are looking to make a run at the WVIAC title in 2009-2010.   Head Coach Sasha Palmer's (3rd season) Pitt-Johnstown team will lean on five returners and a strong recruiting class in an effort to build on last year’s success.
      The Lady Cats, picked to finish eighth in the 2008-09 WVIAC preseason poll, shook off a slow start to rattle-off ten straight wins and declare themselves a force to be reckoned with in league play.  The young Lady Cats ended with a 14-6 record in conference play and earned the No. 5 seed in the conference tournament.  After a first-round win over Wheeling Jesuit (WV) University, Pitt-Johnstown knocked off defending tournament champion Fairmont State (WV) University in a thrilling, 78-76, overtime quarterfinals win.  However, WVIAC regular season champion and eventual tournament champion University of Charleston (WV) ended the Lady Cats’ season with a 73-56 victory in the semifinals.
     In 2009-10, Coach Palmer and assistant coaches Erin Eaton and Lindsay Cale believe Pitt-Johnstown’s veterans are poised and determined to compete for the WVIAC crown.
     Returning at guard for the Lady Cats is junior Sheena Aden (Sandy Lake, Pa.), a Second-Team All-WVIAC selection who averaged 14.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game a year ago.  Aden, a two-time WVIAC Women’s Basketball Player of the Week honoree, connected on 52% of her attempts from the floor a year ago.   Aden brings two years of starting experience to the Lady Cat backcourt.  “Aden has already established herself as one of the top guards in the conference.  She came back extremely focused and ready to lead ,” Coach Palmer said.
     Another returning starter for the Lady Cats is junior guard/forward Andrea Dalton (Washington, Pa.)Dalton averaged 11.7 points and 3.9 rebounds in 2008-09, while shooting 35% from behind the three-point line.  A WVIAC All-Tournament Team selection last year, Dalton contributed 13 points and 4.3 rebounds per game in WVIAC tournament play.  “Dalton has really stepped up to take on a leadership role within our program,” Coach Palmer said.  “She is the type of player who will do anything that is asked of her, and her ability to play multiple positions allows us to create match-up problems.”
     Red-shirt junior guard/forward Qiuana Brown (Monroeville, Pa.) will also play a vital role on this year’s team.  Brown, who started 15 games last season, averaged 5.6 points and 3.5 rebounds per game during her sophomore campaign.  She shot 45% from the field, and was second on the team in blocked shots with 23. “Brown is our sparkplug,” Coach Palmer said. “She does all of the little things that a team needs to be successful.”
     Anchoring down the Lady Cats’ post will be sophomore center Monae Baker (Bushkill, Pa.).  A WVIAC All-Freshman Team Selection, Baker averaged 10.3 points and a team-leading 6.5 rebounds per game a year ago.  She recorded a team-best four double-doubles, including a 19 point, 19 rebound performance in Pitt-Johnstown’s last regular season contest.  “After spending a year learning the ins and outs of our system, Baker has returned with a different mindset and the determination to excel,” Coach Palmer said. “We expect her to be one of the most dominating post players in our conference.”
     Also returning to the lineup this season is sophomore guard Sara Trimarco (Hollidaysburg, Pa.).  Last season, Trimarco earned valuable experience at the point guard position, dishing out 3.1 assists per game.  She finished 30th in the nation in assist-to-turnover-ratio at 1.76. “We look for Trimarco to play a vital role at the point guard position,” Coach Palmer said.
     Coach Palmer’s second recruiting class added eight standout players, including five transfers.  Junior twin sisters Stacy and Kelly Goode (Pleasant Plain, OH) add athleticism and energy to the point guard and off guard positions.  Junior Katie Kendall (Bethel Park, Pa.) brings her keen shooting eye, while Division I transfer Kayla Loughner (Brinklow, MD) provides another dimension for Pitt-Johnstown with her ability to score from the perimeter or in the paint.  Sophomore Katie McBroom (Derry, Pa./Derry Area H.S.) will add size and an interior presence in the paint.
     True freshmen Maria Montini (Irwin, Pa.) and Elisa Schober (Washington, Pa.) look to make their marks on the court this season.
     The Lady Cats open the 2009-10 season at home on Nov. 15 against Indiana University (PA), before hosting the Lady Cat Classic on Nov. 21 and 22.  In all, the Lady Cats will be in action inside the Sports Center 15 times, including six home contests during first semester.
     With a mix of experienced returning players and the addition of several talented newcomers, the Lady Cats are poised to battle for the program’s first WVIAC title and a 17th trip to the NCAA Division II National Tournament.