For the first time in Terrier history, St. Francis College is sending a basketball team to the NCAA tournament. NY1’s Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
A special blessing was given Monday for the championship trophy at St. Francis College.
“Last night we entered the promise land. Amen. Allelluia,” said a priest before the team and trophy.
It is the first time the school won the Northeast Conference Championship, and the first time the Terriers will advance to the NCAA tournament. The women's team clinched the title over the weekend beating Robert Morris University in Pennsylvania 77 to 62.
"It's literally a dream come true and even this morning we all woke up and had a group chat and we're like guys we won. It's still unbelievable. We don't believe it's great,” said player Colette Hounshell.
St. Francis has never advanced to the big dance. Last week the men's team had a shot but fell short in their championship game at home.
"We didn't want to leave St. Francis without having a title to our name. We knew we'd come so close and the boys have come so close and it was just time for Brooklyn and St. Francis to get some respect they deserve and this is just one of the best ways to do it," said team member Sarah Benedetti.
"The women feel a little under the radar and it might've been the best thing that happened because maybe not so much hype they got the job done," said Irma Garcia, the college's athletic director.
On Monday night, players and faculty gathered for a viewing party as the NCAA schedule was announced. Upon seeing their school on the screen cheers erupted.
They didn't seem fazed by being matched against the top seeded team overall.
"I'm excited to play UConn. It's going to be a fun experience. It's out first time. It's going to be great," said Jaymee Veney, player.
"There's probably very few teams that actually have a chance to win it, but for teams like us it's just the excitement of getting there and that's kind of culminates your season," said head coach John Thurston.
St. Francis heads to Connecticut to play University of Connecticut on Saturday night.