The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947

THE GANNON KNIGHT

The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947

THE GANNON KNIGHT

The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947

THE GANNON KNIGHT

Gannon Women’s Basketball 2023-24 Preview

November 3, 2023/12a 

 

A year removed from a 1st round Atlantic Regional exit, the Golden Knights Women’s Basketball team is set to tip off the 2023-2024 season, albeit with many new faces and a noticeably young team. This year’s team, which is unranked but received votes in the initial WBCA Division II Preseason Poll, features six freshmen and two transfers to accompany six returning players from the group that reached the PSAC tournament final a year ago. 

Amongst those returning players is Redshirt Senior, Samantha Pirosko. The 5’10 post player averaged a team-high 20.4 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game last season en route to a host of awards. Pirosko was named a WBCA Honorable Mention All-American, D2CCA Second Team All-American, and PSAC West Women’s Basketball Athlete of the Year, along with being a First Team CSC Academic All-America selection. Coming into this season, Pirosko sits ranked sixth in career scoring in Gannon history at 1,541 points. She also ranks in the top 15 in Gannon history in career rebounds, scoring average, field goals made, field goal percentage, free throws attempted and made, and free throw percentage. With her long list of accolades, accomplishments, and records, it is obvious that the Golden Knights will lean upon Pirosko to lead them back to another PSAC Championship appearance and NCAA Tournament berth. 

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Alongside, Pirosko, Gannon also returns PSAC West Freshman of the Year, Bri Claxon. Claxon, a 5’7 guard, finished last season averaging 7.8 points per game—finishing as the team’s third-leading scorer. Now, coming back for her sophomore campaign, Claxon’s role is sure to increase, as the Golden Knights will likely be looking to her to be the second piece to the puzzle of winning a PSAC Championship. 

As far as the new faces, the Knights will be hoping for immediate contribution from Trinitee Harris, a 5’7 transfer guard from Wabash Valley College of the NJCAA. Harris’s Lady Warriors finished 31-2 a season ago and advanced to the 2023 NJCAA Division I Championship quarterfinals. Playing on a team in which seven players committed to Division I schools, Harris was able to make her mark, averaging 8.8 points per game—good for fifth best on the team. She was also able to contribute 4.1 rebounds per game and 2.1 assists per game. Her 68 total assists and 51 total steals were good for fourth and fifth on the team, respectively. Now, on a Golden Knights roster in which five of the nine guards are freshmen, Harris could be primed to make an immediate impact. 

Leading the troops, Cleve Wright will be entering his 16th season as head coach of the Golden Knights. Coach Wright currently sits at 324-119 in his 15 seasons and is currently the winningest coach in the history of Gannon Women’s Basketball—209 wins ahead of any other coach on the list. Last season’s NCAA tournament berth marked his eighth with the Golden Knights, including five in the last six years, and last season’s PSAC Championship appearance marks his fourth straight at the helm of the program. This season, Coach Wright will be coaching in the absence of a familiar face on the court—his daughter, Emma, who graduated this past spring. The 22-23 Second Team All-PSAC West selection, CSC Academic All-District Selection, and PSAC Women’s Basketball Champion Scholar was a force for the Golden Knights last season, averaging 13.4 points per game—second on the team. This season, Coach Wright will have to find a way to replace the production of his daughter, however, with the production returning from the likes of Pirosko and Claxon, as well as the addition of a talented recruiting class, the Golden Knights once again have their sights set on returning to the PSAC Championship—this time to finish the job. 

The Golden Knights Open the 2023-24 season on Friday, November 3rd in Billings, Montana at the Division II CCA Tip-Off Tournament against Texas A&M – Kingsville. They then play 19th-ranked Angelo State and fifth-ranked Tampa as a part of that same tournament before returning home to host 23rd-ranked Glenville State on November 10th as a part of the Atlantic Region Challenge. With three of the Golden Knights’ first four opponents being ranked in the top 25, they will have an early opportunity to show their pedigree and prepare to make a run at a PSAC Championship. 

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About the Contributor
Jonathan Williams, Sports Editor
This semester’s Sports Editor for the Gannon Knight is Jonathan Williams. He is a graduate student from Bamberg, South Carolina pursuing his master's in strategic communications. He graduated with a Bachelor's in English from LaGrange College in 2021, before transferring to Gannon last fall. This will be his first time writing for a newspaper; however, he is very excited about this opportunity. Upon graduating in December, he plans to pursue a career in sports journalism. In addition to the paper, Jonathan is a member of Gannon's football team and was named a PSAC Scholar Athlete for the 22-23 school year. He is also a part of Gannon's radio station: 90.5 WERG. In his downtime, he loves to play the piano, play soccer, and spend time with friends and teammates. Thank you for all of your support with The Gannon Knight!

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