BY: Andrew Sischo
For the first time since joining the East Coast Conference, the Daemen College Women’s Basketball team is fighting to stay in the top six of the standings, which locks up a postseason berth into the conference tournament.
Becoming part of the East Coast Conference in 2012, and starting play in the winter of 2013, the Wildcats have not tasted the postseason yet. All of that is something that the women hope to change this season. Currently sitting in fifth place at 10-14 overall, and 7-7 in conference play, Daemen have used strong play as of late to win six of their last 11 games.
The strong play has been in part to the emergence of a few newcomers, as well as strong bench play. Caroline White (Fairport, N.Y./ Fairport), Tiara Filbert (Batavia, N.Y./Batavia) and Sydney Jones (Clifton Springs, N.Y./Midlakes) have started to play exceptionally well over the course of the last few weeks as key contributors in Erin Sinnott (Owego, Ill./Evansville) and Jordan Heinold (Hamburg, N.Y./Immaculata) have been out with injuries.
Some may say the success of the program has come following the hiring of Jenepher Banker. In her second season as Head Coach of the Daemen Wildcats, Banker has a career record of 21-29. Many changes have come within the last few years and the program has been turned around.
“She really knows basketball, she has a great deal of knowledge when it comes to the game, and it has been a great help having Kallie around to help,” said Freshman Caroline White
Not only are the women fighting to stay in the postseason hunt, but are also hoping to keep the career of one of the Daemen greats alive. Sarah Saba (Lancaster, N.Y./ Lancaster) has her exceptional career in a Daemen uniform coming to a close, but that is just another thing on the mind of the team.
“We are really going to miss her leadership and experience on and off the floor next season,” said White, when asked about Saba.
At the beginning of the season, things looked bright for the Wildcats. With a stacked recruiting class of two Division I transfers, and a true freshman, the ‘Cats were excited to start the season, but with a few injuries, it has been a bit of an uphill battle that has worked out for the ladies.
With the season winding down, the Wildcats have four games remaining with two at home against Molloy and Queens, and two on the road against LIU Post and NYIT. With the best-case scenario having the Wildcats win out, then the Women will be a part of the postseason fun for the first time.