BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Daemen women’s basketball team cut down the nets at their home Lumsden Gymnasium on Sunday after repeating as East Coast Conference champions and qualifying for the Division II NCAA tournament.

Daemen (20-4) advanced to the dance for the third consecutive season under coach Jenepher Banker, a former Canisius College assistant who guided Grand Island High School to a string of sectional championships. The Wildcats have won two games in each of the past two tournaments. This is their third ECC title in four years, but the 2020 team had its NCAA trip canceled at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

Seeded sixth in the eight-team East Region, Daemen will play third-seed Jefferson (26-4) in the first round at Assumption University in Worcester, Mass. The Wildcats enter the bracket on a 10-game winning streak, having outscored opponents by an average of 18.9 points during that span.

Gabby McDuffie, an Olmsted graduate who helped Niagara County Community College reach the NJCAA tournament last season, scored 17 points to earn game MVP recognition in Daemen’s 66-51 conference championship game victory against St. Thomas Aquinas.

Daemen’s men’s basketball team lost 72-66 on Sunday at STAC in the ECC championship game. The Wildcats (20-8) had won eight games in a row and were ranked No. 8 in the East region. They now await a possible at-large invitation. STAC, ranked 20th in the country and sixth in the region, has won seven of the past eight ECC title.


Jonah Bronstein joined the News 4 roster in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. Read more of his work here.