Women reach conference playoffs


Mary-Lynn Retassie

The women’s basketball team held a pick-up practice March 21 at the Wellness Center.

Yang Chen, Sports Editor

In the 2019 season, the Pitt-Johnstown women’s basketball team finished fifth in the conference, and 13-16 overall. The finish was the best for the team since 2014.

Junior Gabbie Smith was honored as First-Team and junior Alli McGrath was honnored as Second-Team All Conference West.

“I’m so proud of the girls on my team,” head coach Mike Drahos said.

“They are playing and flighting harder than before.

“Our team did a better job, and we found a way to defeat other teams. We lost 10 games by single digits (in 2017-18) last year, and we lost just two games by single digits in 2019. 

“The girls have become more tough, both mentally and physically, and we moved up one more step to get more wins.”

The team won seven road games, as  opposed to four victories at home.

“I’m not sure why there were more away game-wins than at home games.

“Maybe the girls felt less pressure when they were off campus.

“The team achieved their goal to play in the conference playoffs. 

“We have been better, and let’s see how far we can go,” Drahos said.

Senior Laurel O’Barto said this was her last season.

“I’ll miss my teammates and give thanks for being with them for the past four years.”

Mercyhurst women’s basketball head coach Deanna Richard said that Pitt-Johnstown’s defense is improving.

“Their team defense is great and plays tough. They score more, too. 

“Playing against them more can help our team to learn more about defense.

“Coach Drahos and assistant coach Renee Brown did a good job with the  Pitt-Johnstown team,” Richard said.

Brown said she has witnessed the team growing.

“The team has new confidence, and is physically and mentally stronger.

“I want the whole team to be capable of scoring, not relying on one or two girls,” Brown said. 

Team captain Tori Moreland said she was proud the team accomplished its goal to make the conference playoffs.

“I love my team, and I’m not ready to be done just yet. We have a lot of potential.”

Pitt-Johnstown top scorer McGrath said her experience helped her play well.

“Playing for University of Maryland-Baltimore County before was a good experience for me.

“It made me mentally strong. Adjusting here was easy for me, being that I played at that level,” McGrath said. 

Assistant athletic director Abby Gearhart said McGrath and Smith are both hardworking young players.

“They are dominating the game.”