Women’s basketball ranked 20th in the nation



Gannon’s Sam Pirosko looks to make a pass during the Knights’ 65-56 victory against 13th-ranked Daemen. Gannon’s next game will Friday against Bluefield State at the Hammermill Center.

Alex Pepke, Sports Editor

One season after winning the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) championship, Gannon’s women’s basketball team is off to a tremendous start to this season.

The Knights have already accumulated an impressive record of 5-1 with a 3-0 mark at home. The reigning PSAC champions ripped off four wins to begin the year before falling to the 13th-ranked Daemen Wildcats Friday, 70-68.

Gannon has made noise nationally and is now ranked 20th in the country.

With four of the Knights’ five leading scorers being either a junior or senior, it’s safe to say that this is a very experienced lineup.

Led by coach Cleve Wright, who is in his second season in his second stint as coach, the Knights have plenty of leadership from the top down. There may be no better leader for the team than Wright, who has been with the program for 13 total years and is a former Division II national coach of the year.

Gannon opened this year with back-to-back victories over Miles College on Jan. 12-13, winning 64-35 and 65-60. Tori Obenrader led the Knights in scoring with 28 points between the two games.

After having two games against Salem University canceled, Gannon took on Mercyhurst Jan. 23 in a battle of Erie schools. Gannon was victorious, 68-44, as Sam Pirosko led the way with 17 points. Gannon followed that victory with another win against Roberts Wesleyan, 76-48.

This past weekend the Knights were faced with two tough matchups against the 13th-ranked team in the nation, Daemen. Gannon came into these matchups ranked 21st nationally.

In the first game, Daemen handed Gannon its first loss of the season, edging the Knights, 70-68. Gannon trailed by double-digits in the fourth quarter and stormed back within one point with eight seconds to play, but ultimately lost. Sydney Mitchell put together her second career double-double for the Knights with 10 points and 10 assists. In addition, Obenrader seemed to have suffered an injury during the game. Her status is unknown, but she did not play in the following matchup on Sunday.

In Sunday’s rematch, it was Gannon that got the better of Daemen, winning 65-56. It was a back-and-forth game, totaling 20 lead changes and 14 ties. The Knights were able to string together a 10-2 run to close the game and secure a victory. Pirosko led the way for Gannon, putting up 23 points and eight rebounds while playing 38 minutes.

With this victory, it marks the Knights’ second win against nationally ranked opponents in the last seven games, with the other win coming against Indiana University of Pennsylvania in last season’s PSAC title game.

Gannon is now ranked third in the Division II Media Poll (D2SIDA) regional rankings. The two teams ahead of the Knights in the Atlantic region are Charlestown and Glenville State.

Gannon’s next two games will be Wednesday and Friday, both against Bluefield State. The games will take place at the Hammermill Center in Erie, but no fans will be permitted.

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