Women are picked to finish fourth


Yang Chen

Senior Alli McGrath, the new women’s basketball co-captain, practiced three-pointer shooting in the Pitt-Johnstown Sports Center.

Yang Chen, Sports Editor

The Pitt-Johnstown women’s basketball team finished their first scrimmage game Oct. 26, and will have a first exhibition game Nov. 1 against Pitt-Oakland at the Petersen Events Center (Pittsburgh Pa.).

Mike Drahos, the Pitt-Johnstown women’s basketball head coach, said team members have elected seniors Alli McGrath and  Gabby Smith as co-captains this season.

“Their leadership and work ethic will help. This season is coming up very soon, but they are smarter and stronger than last year.

“They will improve faster under pressure, and they already know the expectations for the program.”

According to Drahos, the team has been projected to finish in their division in a preseason conference poll of coaches. 

“I think it’s good, because the conference is tough to play. Indiana (Pa.) placed fourth in the nation, California (Pa.) twice  women’s basketball NCAA champion, and Edinboro is a good team. 

“But I know we’re going to be here step-by-step and game-by-game to win games. We know where we want to be.

“I’m excited for this season, and we went to playoffs last year. We want to move further this year, and we are ready to go,” Drahos said.

Renee Brown, assistant women’s basketball coach, said all incoming freshmen are great.

“I’m so happy that they have good IQs for basketball and work hard in everyday training.

“Our training started Oct. 15, following NCAA rules. Our incoming freshmen are good at shooting three-pointers and mid-range shots. It means that we could have a wider space to score.

“Not only freshmen, but upperclassmen also did a good job,” Brown said. 

“We used to rely on Smith and McGrath to score, and they still will be dominant in our game. But, this year, from training our other players’ capacity is better.

“I have high expectations for this year and want to see them get to the conference championship,” Brown said.

Smith, the women’s basketball co-captain, said she was happy to be selected to be a captain on the team.

“It’s an honor for the team to look up to me, and I’ll try my best to lead the team.

“We already knew each other’s strengths, and we are going to play different role for the team to make it better.

“We want to win the conference game as far as we can go. 

“A playoff game is the first step for us, and we want to move further,” Smith said.

McGrath, the other Pitt-Johnstown women’s basketball co-captain, said she wants to be a real model for the team.

“After one year playing on this court, I know more about the team. 

“I want to lead the team as the best example to achieve more.

“The whole team’s speed of improvement is not so fast, but we are getting better every day and game.

“We’ll accomplish what we can do. Last season, we went to a playoff game, and I want to help the team go further,” McGrath said.