It’s been 27 years since Lorri Johnson stepped onto the court wearing No. 24 for the Panthers, but she still holds the record for career points scored — in Pitt men’s or women’s basketball — at 2,312.
In honor of that achievement, on Jan. 13, 2019, at the Petersen Events Center, Johnson became the fifth Pitt basketball player and the first-ever woman to have a jersey retired.
“It is an honor to have my jersey retired,” said Johnson, who played forward from 1987 to 1992. “I’m excited to get back on campus and celebrate with my former coaches, teammates and this current group of Panthers. Pitt basketball will always hold a special place in my heart.”
Johnson, who led her team in scoring all four years, ranks eighth in women’s basketball career rebounds at Pitt with 908. She holds the single-season record for field goals (266) and the single-game mark for points with 45 against Kent State on Dec. 18, 1990. Johnson also ranks third in program history with 677 points scored during the 1988-89 season.
“She set a standard,” said Athletic Director Heather Lyke in a video played at the Jan. 13 halftime ceremony, who added that recognition is “long overdue.”
“Lorri is well deserving of this honor, not just because of her accolades but because during her four years at Pitt, she demonstrated a relentless pursuit of excellence. That is her true legacy as a Pitt Panther,” said Lyke.
“There have been some really great players who deserve this honor of getting their jersey retired,” added current Head Coach Lance White. “And now, all of those players have someone to look up to.”
Kirk Bruce (A&S ’76), head coach from 1985-98 who coached Johnson, said, “There are four or five other names I could think of right now” who would be well deserving of having their jersey retired next. This gesture opens the door.
“We talk a lot about ‘what is your legacy going to be?’” said White of the current team, which is 9 and 8 for the season. “And now, to be able to point to the rafters and see that there is a Pitt women’s basketball player. … I think it’s a huge step to have someone up there. I’m extremely excited for Lorri and for our administration for honoring her.”
Sunday’s game against Boston College was Chancellor Patrick Gallagher’s fourth annual Friends and Family Day, with free admission for Pitt employees and their guests. Despite a strong effort in the first half, the Panthers lost to the Eagles 55-59. But in addition to Johnson making history, more than 20 Pitt women’s basketball alumni were also recognized in front of friends and family on the court at halftime.