Former Pitt women’s basketball star Lorri Johnson was honored at halftime during her former team’s matchup with Boston College at the Petersen Events Center on Sunday. Johnson, Pitt’s all-time leading scorer, had her number, 24, retired during the ceremony, becoming the first female athlete in the history of Pitt athletics to receive the distinction.
“I’m extremely excited for Lorri and our program,” Pitt head coach Lance White said during the postgame press conference. “There have been some very good players at Pitt that need that honor. Now we can continue that, and the players have someone to look up to. We always talk to the kids that we have now and the ones we are recruiting about what is your legacy going to be. To be able to now point to the rafters and see a Pitt women’s basketball player up there, it’s huge for us.”
Johnson played for Pitt from 1987 to 1991, and during that time, she emerged as a leader on the team, scoring 2,312 points over 113 games for an average of 20.5 points per game. Johnson’s point total narrowly surmounted Jennifer Bruce’s 2,295 points, which she amassed in 112 games between 1981 and 1985. Only Johnson, Bruce and current New York Liberty guard Shavonte Zellous have reached the 2,000-point plateau at Pitt.
In addition to becoming Pitt’s top scorer, Johnson was also the team’s leading rebounder between 1988 and 1991, as she averaged 8.6 per game during that span and finished her collegiate career ranked eighth in the category in program history. She also set the program record for most points in a game, as she scored 45 when Pitt played Kent State on Dec. 12, 1990.
For Johnson and Pitt, the day was one to remember, and the ceremony had a great opening act, as those in attendance were treated to a close first half capped off with a half-court buzzer-beater by Pitt guard Jasmine Whitney. And although the Panthers lost their grasp on the game and fell to the Eagles 59-55, the program's gesture commemorating one of its greats will long outlive the day's result.