One of the Big South’s Top 25 best of the best, Liberty’s Katie Feenstra-Mattera showed why during the 2005 NCAA women’s basketball tournament.
The a 6-8 pillar and three-time conference Player of the Year combined for 51 points and 24 rebounds to help the Flames knocked off No. 4 seed Penn State, 78-70, and No. 5 DePaul, 88-79, to reach the Sweet 16.
Liberty joined Texas A&M’s 1994 team as the only No. 13 seeds in NCAA history to reach the round of 16.
It’s the sports moment judged the greatest in school history because it put the evangelical Christian university’s athletics on the national map.
“Why not Liberty?” Feenstra-Mattera said after the DePaul game.
“I could have gone anywhere, but God put me here for a purpose. I’m so thankful and blessed to be part of this team.”
The Flames had never won an NCAA game despite nine straight appearances in the tournament.
With the Penn State victory, the Flames became the first Big South basketball team — men’s or women’s — to advance beyond the first round.
An Associated Press Honorable Mention All-America honoree for the second consecutive season, Feenstra scored 22 points with 11 rebounds against Penn State.
She followed that with 29 points and 13 boards against DePaul.
Liberty’s run ended in a 90-48 loss to LSU in the regional semifinals, but the victory against DePaul turned doubters into believers.
“It was a monumental win for us,” Flames head coach Carey Green said. “It was the greatest victory in our basketball history at Liberty.”
Liberty returned to the NCAA Tournament in 2012 and 2015.
After finishing her career as the Big South’s fifth all-time leading scorer (1,845 points), second all-time leading rebounder (1,033) all-time leader in field-goal percentage (.623), Feenstra-Mattera played five seasons in the WNBA.
In 2012, she became head coach at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids.
Above: Katie Feenstra-Mattera scores against DePaul in Liberty’s 88-79 victory in the 2005 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. (Courtesy Liberty University Archives)
THIS WEEK’S GREATEST MOMENTS
• Monday: Kent State and Lafayette
• Tuesday: Lake Superior State and Lamar
• Wednesday: LaSalle and Lehigh
• Thursday:Liberty and Longwood
• Friday: Louisiana Tech and Loyola Maryland