In 2021, Daemen College stood alone as the only NCAA Division II athletics program in the country to send both men’s and women’s basketball teams to the tournament’s final round, the Elite Eight.
Both programs were led by D-II All-American honorees, with coaches and players reaching historic milestones at Daemen.
Leading the Wildcats to their third consecutive tournament berth, head coach Mike MacDonald posted his seventh consecutive winning season at Daemen. The 20-21 campaign marked the program’s first-ever trip to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight.
The squad advanced to the Elite Eight after capturing the program’s first East Region championship with a hard-fought 71-70 victory over East Coast Conference (ECC) rival St. Thomas Aquinas.
In the national quarterfinals, the Wildcats’ season ended with a loss to No. 1-seeded West Texas A&M—the eventual national runner-up.
Daemen finished the season nationally ranked—ninth overall in the country in the final D2SIDA media poll—for the first time since gaining full NCAA D-II membership in 2015.
Forward Andrew Sischo ’20 earned consensus All-American honors for the second straight season. Averaging more points (26.9) than any player in Daemen history for a single season, Sischo ranked fourth among D-II players in points, second overall in rebounds and led the country in double-doubles for a second straight year.
Along the way, Sischo became the program’s all-time leading scorer—and only the second 2,000-point/1,000-rebound player in ECC history.
All 12 players who finished the season will return.
Closing the season with a 14-3 overall record, the team finished with a top -10 rank in both top-25 national media polls—a first in school history.
Claiming their second consecutive ECC regular season title, the team also finished as runners-up in the ECC Championship Tournament. Coach Jenepher Banker was honored as ECC Coach of the Year.
Caroline White ’21—the 20-21 ECC Player of the Year—and Katie Titus both garnered honorable mention All-American recognition by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, the first Wildcat players to do so since the team’s transition to DII.
In the national quarterfinal game of the NCAA tournament in Columbus, Ohio, the Wildcats lost to defending (and eventual 20-21) champions, the undefeated Lubbock Christian Chaparrals.
Surpassing the 1,000-point mark this season was both White and redshirt senior guard Tiara Filbert—both All-ECC first team honorees, along with Titus.
The Wildcats return a bulk of their regular rotation for the upcoming 21-22 season, including Filbert and Alahna Paige, who was the ECC Rookie of the Year.