University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Pitt-Johnstown Seal

2011-12 Season Preview

     With the loss of four seniors, including Honorable Mention All-American guard Sheena Aden (Sandy Lake, Pa.) and First-Team All-Region forward Andrea Dalton (Washington, Pa.), Head Coach Sasha Palmer (5th season) will have an all-new look with some big shoes to fill in 2011-12.
     Aden, an Honorable Mention WBCA/State Farm All-American, and Dalton, a First-Team Daktronics All-Atlantic Region and First-Team All-WVIAC choice, combined for 53% of Pitt-Johnstown’s scoring a year ago.
     Twin sisters Kelly and Stacy Goode (Cincinnati, OH) are also gone.  Kelly Goode was the Lady Cats’ third leading scorer, while Stacy Goode was Coach Palmer’s defensive leader.
     Despite the losses, the Lady Cats will be ready to improve upon last year’s 16-12 record (13-9 WVIAC) and trip to the WVIAC Quarterfinals.
     Senior point guard Sara Trimarco (Hollidaysburg, Pa.) will lead this year’s young Lady Cat squad with her tenacious defense.  Trimarco must be a more active part of the team’s offense as both a scorer and a distributor if this year’s squad is going to be successful.  She averaged 3.5 points and 3.0 rebounds, but led Pitt-Johnstown in assists with 106 as a junior.
     Fellow senior and returning starting forward Kayla Loughner (Brinklow, MD), the team’s fourth leading scorer at 7.1 points per game in 2010-11, can be a very effective scorer in the paint or from the perimeter.  Loughner needs to look for open shots and maintain her aggressiveness on the offensive end.
     Sharing the paint with Loughner will be senior forward Katie McBroom (Derry, Pa.) and sophomore center Inaya Stephenson (Pittsburgh, Pa.).  The duo combined to average 3.9 rebounds and 4.3 points per game last year.  McBroom has a big basketball body and can provide solid minutes in the paint, while Stephenson, who has improved vastly after coming in with raw talent as a freshman, is expected to be a big contributor this year.
     Coach Palmer is also counting on junior sharp-shooter Maria Montini (Irwin, Pa.) and talented sophomores Rachel Johnson (Palmyra, Pa.) and Grace Hyland (Pittsburgh, Pa.) to help make up for the loss in scoring.
     Montini averaged 4.1 points and was third on the team with 22 three-pointers as a sophomore a year ago.  Montini, who worked very hard on improving her defensive skills, needs to take a leadership role this season and use her terrific shooting ability to score from the outside.
     As the 2010-11 season progressed and adjustments were made to the college game, the Lady Cats got more and more productivity out of Johnson and HylandJohnson averaged 3.0 points and 3.1 rebounds a game as a true freshman.  However, Coach Palmer feels Johnson must be a major scoring threat in addition to her solid defensive and rebounding abilities.  Hyland could be moving into the two-guard position, but she will also be helping Trimarco at the point guard spot.
     Coach Palmer also added a handful of very talented freshmen, including a pair of all-state performers and a state champion, who could make immediate impacts in 2011-12.
     Leading this year’s freshmen class are Pennsylvania All-State choice Kelsey Sleighter (Guard, Uniontown, Pa.) and West Virginia All-State selection Amber Smith (Guard, Morgantown, WV)Sleighter is Uniontown High School’s second all-time leading scorer with 1,245 points, while Smith finished her career at University High School with 1,117 points and 435 rebounds.
     Freshman forward Nicole Carman (Cleveland, OH)  joins the Lady Cat squad after leading Twinsburg High School to the 2011 Ohio State Championship with a perfect 27-0 record.  Carmen averaged 9.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per game as a senior.
     Rounding out this year’s incoming freshman class is guard Kaitlynn Fratz (Accident, MD)Fratz averaged 21.9 points per game on her way to finishing her career at Northern Garrett High School with a school-record 2,109 points.  Fratz also led Northern Garrett to the 2011 Maryland State Championship Game.
     Coach Palmer knows this year’s Pitt-Johnstown team has a lot to make-up for with the loss of last year’s scoring and leadership, but there is plenty of talent and scoring ability on the 2011-12 squad.  Someone, or a group of Lady Cats, must step-up and be a leader.  If that happens, Pitt-Johnstown could improve on last season’s trip to the WVIAC Quarterfinals and make a run at even larger goals.