Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Seton-Lasalle Grad Wins Games, Smiles

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Seton-Lasalle Grad Wins Games, Smiles

Article excerpt

The first thing Kristen Gattuso noticed when she arrived at Fairmont State College her freshman year was the friendliness of the people of West Virginia.

"Everybody says hi to you. The people here are very polite," said Gattuso, a Seton-LaSalle graduate. "I remember telling my mom when I first got here 'People are coming up and saying hi to me and I have no idea who they are!' "

Chances are, these days even more people in Fairmont, located about 90 minutes from Pittsburgh, are giving Gattuso a big hello when they see her. This 5-foot-6 junior guard has evolved into one of the top women's basketball players in the 15-team West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

This Beechview resident was named the WVIAC Co-Player of the Week recently after averaging better than 20 points a game in the Falcons' first four games, including a career-high 27 in a 77-49 win against Wilberforce Nov. 25.

Gattuso has helped Fairmont to a 5-0 record. She leads the Falcons in scoring at 17.4 a game, free-throw percentage (81 percent, 13 for 16) and 3-point field goals (14 for 27, 52 percent).

"Kristen works as hard or harder than anyone on the team," said Fairmont coach Steve McDonald. "Since her freshman year, she's made great strides in her defense and passing abilities.

"Her overall game is so much better. When she first got here, she thought of herself as a shooter. She's developed as a player and in her maturity level as a person. She's learned to let the game come to her."

Gattuso and Fairmont State appear to both be progressing at a steady pace. A college starter since the first game of her freshman year, this former Seton-LaSalle star averaged 15 points a game in her initial campaign as the Falcons went 13-14. Last season, as a sophomore, Gattuso averaged 14.6 points a game as Fairmont State improved to 21-8 - its best mark since the 1984-85 season. …

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