PITTSFORD, N.Y. (WROC) — St. John Fisher women’s basketball had a pretty nice year.
The Cardinals went 25-2 and won the Empire 8 title game by 31 against their cross-town rivals from Nazareth. Fisher is ranked number 20 in the country and back in the NCAA tournament.
The women’s program at Fisher is no stranger to the Big Dance. They’ve made it twice in the last three years and 16 times in program history.
That includes a pair of national runner-up finishes in 1988 and 90. Fisher was then led by Division III player of the year Sue Koonmen. Her daughter is current Fisher senior Leah Koonmen. The younger Koonmen is also a Mercy grady.
Leah says her mom talks all the time about those runs. She hopes something similar starts this weekend.
“Nothing else even compares to the excitement and the energy and the experience of being able to do that,” Leah said. “It was something that she was really proud of and I’m excited we have the opportunity to try and do the same.”
The Cardinals have won 11 straight heading into their NCAA tournament opener Friday night in Amherst, Massachusetts against Rhode Island College. Of their two losses all season, the most recent is against an Ithaca team that will host a tournament pod this weekend.
“We’ve really learned to work well with each other and to share the ball,” Fisher senior and Webster Thomas grad Miranda Lynch said. “We really do look for each other on offense, we run the floor, we just have a lot of scoring threats and also I think we play really good team defense together.”
“This is a special group. Not many teams are practicing right now. Not many teams accomplish what this group has and they have because of how unselfish they are,” said Fisher head coach Melissa Kuberka. “I’m looking forward to another week of practice and hopefully two games this weekend.”
If the Cardinals beat Rhode Island on Friday, they would face the Amherst-SUNY Poly winner on Saturday. The winner of that game gets a spot in the Sweet 16.