Johnson Primed For Second Season Leading Women’s Basketball Program

Head Coach Taryn Johnson enters her second season with the Warriors
Head Coach Taryn Johnson enters her second season with the Warriors

BROCKTON, Mass. ---- The Massasoit CC women's basketball team is set to begin the 2015-16 campaign, starting with a road game at Gateway CC on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

No one is more anxious about the season starting than second year head coach Taryn Johnson.

Johnson, a Brockton native, was hired in September of 2014, after the school year had already started. With only one returning player back last season, Johnson was lucky to have a team at all last year with no time to recruit, as the team scuffled to a 1-15 record. For much of the 2014-15 season, the Warriors only had five or six student-athletes on the roster. Johnson has set much higher expectations in her second year.

"I'm very excited for the season to start," Johnson said. "It's great to come in with a fresh start, my own recruits, some girls that are familiar with me and my style of play. I expect the girls to get better and improve every game, individually and as a team."

In the 2015-16 squad features seven newcomers to join the lone returner Liv Curtin, a forward from Abington.

"We are not as deep as I'd like our team to be, but I am very happy with the starting five and other recruits coming in," Johnson said.  "I am also happy to have Liv (Curtin) back, because she has helped take on almost a player-coach role, since she knows what I expect on and off the court and is a very vocal player for us."

Of the newcomers, a trio of freshmen guards from Brockton High will suit up for the Warriors in Tatiana Dias, Geornaisha Silva-Moore and Natascha Elias.

Dias, a three-time Brockton Enterprise All-Scholastic award winner, graduated from Brockton in 2014. During her senior season she led the Boxers in assists, averaging 4.6 per game. The point guard will be expected to be a floor general for the Warriors.

Silva-Moore, a two-time all-scholastic pick, averaged 13.1 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.6 steals for the Boxers during her senior year. Elias is a three-point shooter, who graduated from Brockton last year with Silva-Moore, who will also be expected to score.

"We have a very strong, cohesive guard unit that have played together for a while," Johnson said. "They are very in sync on fast breaks and know where each other is on the court and find each other easily. I'm confident in our shooters to stretch the floor and open up the inside for our bigs down low."

Joining Curtin as post players include Deja Houston (East Taunton), Cynthia Laing (Brockton), Laura Malley (Halifax) and Gabby Boutin (Middleboro).

"They've been putting a lot of work during preseason and have all developed a post-game so that we can be balanced with our perimeter players," Johnson said. "I'm excited with the improvements this group has made. Malley is very athletic and Gabby goes hard in the paint and brings the camaraderie to the team."

In addition, Johnson has added a new assistant coach, Zeyanna DeFortunato, from Brockton.

After the season opener at Gateway, Massasoit will play at Dean on Thursday (8 p.m.) and host UCAP on Saturday (1 p.m.) in the opening week of the season.