(Photo by: S.Katzman)
Bobcats Looks to Reload in 2006-2007
The 2005-2006 season was a memorable one for the Pitt-Greensburg Women’s Basketball Team. Led by Head Coach Carol Gelet, the Bobcats won a school record 24 games and advanced to their fifth consecutive AMCC Championship game. From there, UPG went onto win the ECAC South Region Championship, becoming the first program in school history to win a post-season title and establishing themselves as an elite national program in the NCAA Division III.
So, the big question now is what does the 2006-2007 team have in store for an encore? After losing four starters, and two key role players, the Bobcats and Coach Gelet are hoping this season will be used to reload, and not rebuild.
“Graduating four starters will certainly be an obstacle for this year’s team to overcome. It is impossible to replace what those players did for us here, but we need to move on with who we have. We have a very young team, but we are extremely talented. Hopefully we can improve all season, and be in the hunt for a championship at season’s end,” commented Coach Gelet.
Perhaps the biggest reason for optimism is the return of one of the most talented backcourts in the conference. Junior guard Tiffany Menhorn (Greensburg, PA/Greater Latrobe) and sophomore guard Nicole Reiser (Renfrew, PA/Knoch) both return to the lineup this season after outstanding 2005-2006 campaigns.
Menhorn, a two-time All-Conference selection, is coming off a season that saw her average a team-best 14.5 points per game and swipe a team-high 54 steals. Menhorn also posted six rebounds per contest. Big things are expected from Tiffany this season, as the junior captain will look to be more of a leader. Menhorn is also expected to become just the fourth women’s player to surpass the 1,000 point plateau.
“Tiffany has established herself as one of the premiere players in our conference, and I expect nothing less than that this season. She has really stepped up as a leader this year, and has worked extremely hard in the offseason to improve her game,” stated Coach Gelet.
Reiser has also established herself as a team-leader, and will figure to be play a larger role in the offense this year. In her freshman season, Reiser played the role of the “6th Man” for the Bobcats and averaged over nine points per game. She led the team with 27 three-point field goals and added 39 steals and 39 assists. Reiser will be asked to provide even more scoring this season as she moves into the starting lineup.
“Nicole is another player who has improved tremendously. She has put in a lot of hard work and it is paying off. We expect to see her up her scoring this year and to become more of a floor leader,” said Coach Gelet.
Several other players return from last year and some will see expanded roles. Junior point guard Nicole Beggs (Freeport, PA/Freeport) will move into the starter’s role this year after spending two seasons as a key reserve. Beggs has averaged nearly 15 minutes per game over her two years at UPG, and will increase that total this year. The steady ball handler will be asked to lead the Bobcat offense and keep things under control on the court.
Junior guard Shannon Thomas (Dallas, PA/Dallas) will also see an increased role this season, as she looks to provide some scoring to the lineup. Thomas has enjoyed an outstanding preseason offensively, and her size at the guard position could provide some mismatches for UPG.
“Both Nicole and Shannon have played well through the preseason. Nicole is a steady point guard who always makes the right decision and hopefully she can control our offense. Shannon has been shooting the lights out, and she will be asked to provide some much needed scoring for our team,” stated Coach Gelet.
The final returning player is sophomore forward Dana Hunzinger (South Park, PA/South Park). Hunzinger appeared in 12 games a season ago and is competing for playing time in the post this year. She has a solid understanding of the offense and is improving each day. She will add some depth to the Bobcats front court.
UPG will also benefit greatly from a deep and talented freshman class that includes nine total players, some of which will contribute immediately to the team. Those looking to make the biggest impact include forwards Kelsey Wilcox (Dubois, PA/Dubois) and Danielle Maloney (Lower Burrell, PA/Burrell) as well as guards Julie Ehrman (Butler, PA/Butler) and Brittney Radic (Monongahela, PA/Ringgold).
Wilcox brings a lot of athleticism to the forward position and at 5’11” will be able to provide a lot of match up problems with her ability to play inside and outside. Maloney is a very strong player with solid low-post moves. Both will play big roles in the paint for UPG.
Ehrman is a dead-eye shooter and will stretch defenses all season with her ability from behind the arc. Radic is a lightning quick point guard who can make spectacular plays all over the court. Her biggest strength is on the defensive end, where she can really hassle the oppositions’ guards.
Amanda Sheaffer (Pittsburgh, PA/Keystone Oaks) and Lindsay Littler (Coraopolis, PA/West Allegheny) are two versatile freshmen whose athleticism will be a key for Pitt-Greensburg. Sheaffer can play both guard and forward and will be asked to do both this season. Littler, a guard, can really get up and down the floor and should provide some depth for the Bobcats.
Rebecca McGee (Dunbar, PA/Connellsville) rounds out the freshman class of forwards. McGee is coming off of an ACL surgery and is constantly improving. As she gets quicker and healthier she will improve greatly. McGee could be a diamond in the rough for UPG, and if she continues to improve, could be a factor in the paint this year.
Two freshman guards round out the class, as both Jess Davis (Mount Holly Springs, PA/Boiling Springs) and Ashley Smith (Carnegie, PA/Carlynton) will provide depth at the point guard position. Both are solid ball-handlers who will improve as they continue to grasp the offensive system.
“We have a very talented group of freshmen, which is very deep and very athletic. The challenge for us as coaches is to get them to understand what we do here, and to get them to learn our system and the way we play. It’s been a work in progress, but they have worked hard and continue to improve with each practice. I have the feeling they will get better all season and hopefully by midseason we will be clicking on all cylinders with our newcomers,” added Coach Gelet.
The Bobcats have a tough road ahead of them, as their non-conference schedule is as tough as it’s ever been. They will open up in the Lebanon Valley College Tournament where they will face Shenandoah College. UPG will host nationally ranked Baldwin-Wallace College, as well as travel to national powerhouse Washington and Jefferson College. They also play Waynesburg College, Juniata College, and Westminster College in the non-conference.
“Our non-conference schedule is definitely challenging, but it will help us get ready for conference play. We face two national powerhouses as well as some traditionally solid programs, and I feel these games will greatly benefit our players, particularly the newcomers,” stated Coach Gelet.
The AMCC also figures to be tough, as defending champion Medaille College returns their entire lineup, and Frostburg State and Penn State Behrend both return veteran clubs. Pitt-Bradford, Lake Erie, La Roche, Penn State Altoona, Hilbert, and Mount Aloysius have all gotten better this year and the conference appears deeper and more talented than it has ever been.
“Our conference is better than is has been in the past, and it seems as though each team has improved with each year. Medaille will be outstanding this season and every other team has gotten better. This will be the toughest year we have faced in the AMCC,” suggested Coach Gelet.
Pitt-Greensburg will certainly be up for the challenge as they try to continue their five-year streak of appearing in the conference championship, and will hope to advance to the post-season for the fifth straight season.
HEAD COACH - CAROL GELET
The 2006-07 season will be Carol Gelet's eighth season at the helm of the Pitt-Greensburg Women’s Basketball Team. A season ago, Gelet led the Bobcats to a career best 24-6 record and a fifth consecutive appearance in the AMCC Championship game. The Bobcats then advanced to the ECAC South Region Tournament, where they became the first program in school history to win a post-season championship, as they captured the title with a win over Johns Hopkins University. The post-season appearance was the fourth consecutive for the Bobcats, as they advanced to the NCAA Tournament in both 2002-03 and 2003-04, and the ECAC Tournament in 2005-2006. Coach Gelet has a career mark of 125-70, and is the all-time leader in wins for any sport at Pitt-Greensburg. In fact, she is the only coach to post more than 100 career wins. Coach Gelet has twice been named AMCC Coach of the Year (2000-01 and 2001-02), and has led her team as far as they second-round of the NCAA Tournament (2002-2003).
Prior to joining the UPG Athletic Department, Gelet had tremendous success at the High School level. She led the Clairton High School boys’ team to back-to-back WPIAL Class A Championships in 1996-97 and 1997-98. In 1998-99, Gelet pulled a rare ‘double duty’, simultaneously serving as head coach for both the boys’ and girls’ teams.
While at Clairton, Gelet earned several individual honors including being named AP Pennsylvania Small School Coach of the Year and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Coach of the Year in 1997. Her three-year record as the boys’ coach was 51-26. In one season as the girls’ coach it was 11-10.
Gelet began her coaching career as an assistant boys’ coach at Clairton, serving as the head ninth grade coach during the 1994-95 season and assistant varsity coach the following season.
Gelet remains an employee at Clairton, where she has been teaching Special Education since 1993. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work from Seton Hill College and a Masters Degree in Education from Duquesne University.
ASSISTANT COACH - KEVIN CONLON
The 2006-07 season will be the second for Kevin Conlon as an assistant coach for the Women’s Basketball team at Pitt-Greensburg. His help with recruiting and his on the court experience have been valuable assets to the program at UPG.
Conlon is a 2005 graduate of Pitt-Greensburg. He was a member of the Men’s Basketball team for four seasons (2001-2005). Over the course of his playing career, Conlon garnered numerous awards. In his senior season, Conlon was selected to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District II College Division Men's Basketball Second Team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), the D3Hoops.com Men’s Basketball All-Great Lakes Region Third Team, The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-Great Lakes Region Second Team, and the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Men’s Basketball Southern Region Second Team. He also was named the 2005 Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) ‘Player of the Year’, after being named the AMCC ‘Preseason Player of the Year’, in addition to earning his third consecutive First Team All-AMCC selection. Conlon is the career assists leader at Pitt-Greensburg and ranks second all-time in points scored.
For his hard work in the classroom, as well as on the court, Conlon was the recipient of the 2004-05 AMCC Faculty Athletics Representative Award.
A native of Altoona, Conlon is a full-time employee at Pitt-Greensburg, also serving as the Sports Information Director and Assistant Softball Coach. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication.
ASSISTANT COACH - ANDY GETER
Andy Geter returns for his sixth season as an assistant coach for the Women’s Basketball team in 2006-07. He has proven to be a vital part of the staff with his valuable input and work with the post players, as well as his overall knowledge of the intricacies of the game of basketball.
Geter has coached various sports at the youth, recreational, and high school
levels for nearly 40 years and has achieved legendary status on the local playing
courts in Greensburg. Before coming to Pitt-Greensburg, he served as the head junior
varsity girls’ basketball coach at Franklin Regional High School.
A native of Latrobe, Geter has been married over 36 years to his wife B.J, and they have a daughter, Andrea. He is also employed by the Safety & Security office at Pitt-Greensburg.
|10||Lindsay Littler||G||5-7||Fr.||Coraopolis, PA/West Allegheny|
|11||Nicole Beggs||G||5-4||Jr.||Sarver, PA/Freeport|
|13||Brittney Radic||G||5-3||Fr.||Monongahela, PA/Ringgold|
|14||Amanda Sheaffer||G/F||5-8||Fr.||Pittsburgh, PA/Keystone Oaks|
|23||Shannon Thomas||G/F||5-8||Jr.||Dallas, PA/Dallas|
|31||Tiffany Menhorn||G||5-7||Jr.||Greensburg, PA/Greater Latrobe|
|32||Nicole Reiser||G||5-7||So.||Renfrew, PA/Knoch|
|33||Kelly Sieczkowski||G/F||5-9||Jr.||Lower Burrell, PA/Burrell|
|34||Ashley Smith||G||5-4||Fr.||Carnegie, PA/Carlynton|
|42||Kelsey Wilcox||F||5-11||Fr.||Dubois, PA/Dubois|
|44||Dana Hunzinger||F||5-11||So.||South Park, PA/South Park|
|50||Jess Davis||G||5-3||Fr.||Mount Holly Springs, PA/Boiling Springs|
|53||Danielle Maloney||F||5-11||Fr.||Lower Burrell, PA/Burrell|
|54||Rebecca McGee||F||5-11||Fr.||Dunbar, PA/Connellsville|