Westmoreland Alumni Q&A with Jordan Yaniga

The former Franklin Regional girls basketball player is a junior at Point Park

Wed Dec 22, 2021 - 10:04AM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers
Franklin Regional's Jordan Yaniga has started nine games this season for Point Park University.Franklin Regional's Jordan Yaniga has started nine games this season for Point Park University.

Last Updated: Thu Dec 23, 2021 - 3:49AM

Jordan Yaniga helped propel the Franklin Regional girls basketball team to one of its most successful seasons in recent history during her senior campaign. Following her time with the Panthers, Yaniga joined Point Park University, and she’s now a valuable member of the Pioneers’ squad. Yaniga is the featured athlete for the latest edition of the Westmoreland Alum Q&A.

Yaniga made the varsity roster at Franklin Regional as a freshman in 2015-16. That year, the Panthers went 8-14 overall, and 4-10 in section play, failing to qualify for the WPIAL playoffs.

The following campaign, FR improved to 6-6 in the section, and advanced to the WPIAL Class 5A postseason. However, the Panthers fell in the first round to McKeesport Area, finishing the campaign at 12-11.

In Yaniga’s junior campaign, the Panthers sputtered to a mark of 8-13 overall, and 3-9 in the section, missing the postseason.

The program had a breakout year in 2018-19, however. The Panthers went 17-7 overall, including a mark of 10-2 in the section. In the WPIAL Class 5A playoffs, FR defeated South Fayette in the first round, but fell to Penn Hills in the quarterfinals.

After her graduation, Yaniga opted to continue her basketball career in the area, as she joined Point Park University.

As a freshman for the Pioneers in 2019-20, Yaniga appeared in 26 games, playing limited minutes. The forward averaged 1.8 points and 1.6 rebounds per contest, while adding eight assists, four steals, and four blocks. Point Park went 17-13 that season, including 7-9 in the River States Conference (RSC), and failed to reach the conference tournament.

During the abbreviated 2020-21 campaign, Yaniga played in eight games, including four starts. In those contests, she produced 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds. The Pioneers went 6-4, falling to Oakland City in the first round of the RSC tournament.

This campaign, Yaniga has played in 11 games, including nine starts. During that action, she’s accumulated averages of 6.4 points and 6.1 rebounds. The Pioneers have posted a record of 7-6, including 2-3 in RSC play.

Jordan took time from her schedule to answer questions about her individual and team goals for this season, her top place in visit in Pittsburgh, and her favorite holiday.

Q: How has your role evolved throughout your time at Point Park?

A: I think my role has evolved a lot since I started at Point Park. Once I got the feel for playing with these amazing girls, we’ve grown to know our strong suits and pull them all together. It took me some time, but I think I am in a good place to excel and help my team.

Q: What is your best attribute on the court?

A: I think my best attribute on the court is using my track background to getting up and down the court on fast breaks, as well as playing defense and rebounding.

Q: How have you evaluated the team's play to this point?

A: I think our play has been growing for a while, and we all have a role that we are ready to bring together for a good year.

Q: What team and individual goals did you set for 2021-22?

A: Individually, as a player my goals were simple: have more confidence in myself on the court and slow the game down to create better decisions on scoring and fight for every rebound, as well as not have people score on me. As a team, our goal is naturally make it to nationals.

Q: What are the best qualities of head coach Tony Grenek?

A: The best qualities of Coach Grenek are the life lessons he teaches us off the court about growing into respectful young women. As a coach on the court, he does a really good job at finding our strong suits and making us work hard.

Q: What led to your decision to attend Point Park?

A: I wanted to be in an area of school that has life to it, so I chose the city of Pittsburgh.

Q: What is your major, and ideal future profession?

A: My major is journalism. I am hoping to become a reporter or work with something in the communication realm.

Q: Where is your favorite place to visit in Pittsburgh?

A: My favorite place to visit in the city of Pittsburgh has to be Mount Washington at night; seeing the city at night in its entirety is so beautiful.

Q: You attended Franklin Regional High School. What was your fondest memory there?

A: My fondest memories at Franklin were being with my best friends every day and enjoying being a kid with less responsibilities.

Q: Do you still keep in contact with your former teammates or coaches with the Panthers?

A: Yes, I still do; always will.

Q: If you could change any rule about college basketball, what would it be?

A: I think it would have to be something that has been a part of the game my whole life and that is having my jersey tucked in at all times!

Q: Who is your celebrity dream date?

A: My celebrity dream date would have to be Pete Davidson. He is my all-time crush.

Q: What is your favorite holiday?

A: My favorite holiday is Halloween because I love the fall, as well as horror movies. Halloween is fun and stress-free besides finding a costume, but that is the fun part; I love dressing up.

Q: If you were stranded on a desert island with one teammate, who would you choose? Why?

A: I would have to choose my roommate Jordan O’Malley, because I know she would make being stranded more fun than anyone I know, because she is one of my best friends and we always have a fun time whenever we are together.