It will be a long time before Fairmont State University fans forget the accomplishments of Kristen Gattuso on the basketball court.

Gabby Gattuso hopes she can have a similar impact in the future for the Lady Falcons.

The 6-1 junior-to-be forward/center, who may be a distant relative of Kristen Gattuso’s, has decided to transfer from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla. to Fairmont State University at the end of the spring semester.

And she’ll bring with her an impressive resume to say the least.

Gattuso was the Freshman of the Year in the Sunshine State Conference in 2005-06 when she led the NCAA Division II league in scoring with a 16.8 points per game average. She also pulled down 8.3 rebounds per outing and was named second-team all-league.

This past season Gattuso garnered first-team all-conference honors when she averaged 15.6 points and 6.8 rebounds. She led the Tritons in scoring 18 times in 29 games and was the team’s top rebounder on nine occasions. She scored a college career-high of 40 points in a 74-64 loss to the University of Tampa and also had a 31-point outing last season against Flagler.

“Gabby brings a tremendous track record to our program and is a proven scorer,” said FSU head coach Steve McDonald. “She will play both the four and five positions for us and we expect her to have an immediate impact on our program and in our league.”

Gattuso was a standout Class 2A high school player in Florida at Indian Rocks Christian High School where she was a first-team All-State selection. During her first season at Eckerd College, the Tritons went 4-24 and last season, after a coaching change, the squad finished 7-22.

Gattuso, however, wasn’t totally happy at Eckerd and was looking for a place to transfer to. Her father, John, made some calls on her behalf and ended up talking with Jack and Jackie Hammond, who are the parents of Lady Falcon guard Danya Hammond. That’s how FSU came into the picture.

The Gattusos used to reside in West Virginia in the Summersville area several years ago and still have relatives in Bluefield. They, however, moved to Largo, Fla. when Gabby was in the seventh grade.

“My dad talked to the Hammonds and my grandfather knew of Kristen Gattuso who played for Fairmont a few years ago and that’s kind of how this all came about,” said Gattuso. “My dad contacted coach Mac and they spoke for a few weeks and after that he offered for me and my sister to come up for a visit and once we were there we just fell in love with the place.”

Gattuso says she’s really looking forward to playing for a competitive team and attempting to help FSU reach new heights of success in the future.

“I’m very, very excited about this opportunity,” she said. “Here at Eckerd we have not had a lot of success and it kind of sets the mood of your school year when all you do is play basketball and you’re not winning. It’s kind of depressing and it makes things a little harder all around.

“I’m really looking forward to being a part of a successful program with a winning coach and players who are used to winning.”

The Lady Falcons return three starters from a team which finished 19-10 last season. Included among those returners are senior forward Danielle Cornish and junior center Molly Kiger. Gattuso knows she will not be handed a starting spot at FSU and thus plans to earn playing time with solid and consistent play on the court.

“I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge of playing with other talented post players,” said Gattuso. “I’m not looking to come there and just get mine. It’s really about the team’s success for me.

“I think we all need to play and do our things to help us as team be successful. When I first came to Eckerd I faced a big challenge because there was a 6-5 senior in front of me, but by the middle of the season I had taken her starting spot. Right now I just want to go to Fairmont and do my best and whatever happens will happen. I’ve always felt that good players push each other to get better.”

Gattuso can obviously score, rebound and is rather quick and athletic for her size. She, however, noted that she plans to work hard this summer to improve her play on defense.

“Defense is where I need to get better and I’m really making a concentrated effort to get better defensively because I know they put a big emphasis on that at Fairmont,” she said. “Right now I think I’m progressing, but I do want and need to get better in that area.”

Gattuso will major in communications at FSU. She is the third transfer to sign with the Lady Falcons for next season. She joins WVU transfer Brittany Holestine (two guard) and Southern New Hampshire transfer Danielle Graunke (point guard).

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