Women’s basketball concludes season at NCAC Tournament

Lady Gators reflect on 2018-19 injuries, improvements, team spirit

The Allegheny Women’s Basketball Team’s season came to an end Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019 at NCAC powerhouse Depauw University in the 2019 NCAC Tournament.

According to guard, Kaylah Pinkney, ’19, the Gators showed grit and determination and did not give up without a fight, despite difficult circumstances they dealt with for a large part of the season.

Pinkney described the adversity the team had to deal with during the season and emphasized how injuries put a damper on the season for a team she felt had the potential to finish in a higher position when the season came to an end.

“We had our starting point guard injured, and then I got hurt, and then (Delaney Arbore, ’19) got hurt, so three of our starters got hurt at one point, and we all missed about six games,” Pinkney said.

Nonetheless, Pinkney admired how the team fought its way through the ups and downs of the season and did its best to make the most out of a season of frustrations that were, for the most part, out of their control.

“There were definitely a lot of ups and downs, but I think we really proved that we can face adversity and succeed,” Pinkney said. “We also did make the playoffs, so that was a really good thing. Overall, it was a really good season. It was fun, so that’s the most important part.”

With all of this adversity, Pinkney stressed how crucial it was for the team to stick together and keep morale high. Chemistry was important for the athletic team, and it played a huge part in the women’s basketball team’s continuous fight throughout the season.

Especially in times of adversity, you just have to stick together, and I think that if we didn’t have that chemistry, it would have been really bad, and the season probably would not have been as great or as enjoyable as it was.

— Kaylah Pinkney, Class of 2019

“I think our togetherness definitely helped the team overcome adversity,” Pinkney said. “Especially in times of adversity, you just have to stick together, and I think that if we didn’t have that chemistry it would have been really bad, and the season probably would not have been as great or as enjoyable as it was.”

Forward Shannon Relihan, ’21, who also competes in track and field, emphasized the importance of team camaraderie and being able to play with friends as an important part of success.

“I have some of my best friends in both sports, and during the basketball season, the core of my friends are on the basketball team and competing with me every day,” Relihan said.

This camaraderie among Relihan and her teammates help to shape a team that not only keeps fighting when the odds are stacked up against them, but also one that fights together.

Pinkney praised the togetherness of the team throughout the struggles and successes of the season, but also emphasized the strong character of her teammates and everyone involved.

“I just think we had a lot of really good personalities in our team and everyone seemed to get along pretty well, so that was definitely a positive thing,” Pinkney said.

With the season coming to an end, players reflected on their season as a team, their strengths and weaknesses, and what they can do throughout the off-season to try and improve for next year.

Guard Gabrielle Culotta, ’22, shared some of her thoughts regarding the team’s performance and her individual performance during her first year as a Gator.

“Looking back, there are definitely things that we could have improved on,” Culotta said. “I believe our record was 6-20, so obviously, we could have won more games, but overall, we did have to face a lot of adversity that came to us because we had a lot of injuries that struck us.”

The injuries the team dealt with throughout the season were experienced by impactful players, and Culotta expressed the difficulty of overcoming their absence.

“A lot of those injuries were with our starters, so we had a lot of games we had to play without our starters and in those games we didn’t give up, and we kept fighting,” Culotta said.

Culotta said her teammates never gave up, even in dire in-game situations when the score was not pointing their way.

“Even in the games we didn’t have those players playing, if we were losing, no matter how much we were down by we’d always keep fighting, believing we could come back into the game,” Culotta said.

Culotta believes the determination the team showed through bad and good times potentially boosted the players’ confidence and helped them to improve as the season went on.

“As the season went on, there were games where, for example, if we played our opponent earlier in the season, we would have gotten blown out, but we played them tough and were only down by one or two points for most of the game,” Culotta said.

In terms of objectives set out by the team prior to the season, they were sure to set high standards for hard work and excellence both in the classroom and on the court.

“At the beginning of the season, we made a chart of goals for the year,” Culotta said. We had individual goals and athletic goals. Some of the athletic goals were to score 15 points per quarter, at least 60 points a game, and hold other teams to less than 60 points per game.”

While the team was unable to reach every goal set prior to its season, the Gators were able to achieve several of their objectives, and they believe their success in this junction bodes well for future seasons.

Culotta provided words of optimism for the future of the Gator program.

“We all know that we need to grow mentally and become stronger, and I think we will all do that,” Culotta said. “So next season, I believe we’ll gradually get better, and we’ll keep improving.”