Niagara University’s women’s basketball team will be without its best player for the rest of the season.
Junior forward Victoria Rampado hurt her shoulder in the third game of the season and missed the next six games. Niagara coach Jada Pierce said Rampado will have to be a medical red-shirt for this season.
“It’s unfortunate,” Pierce said, “but in her best interest for her future, she will be having season ending shoulder surgery next month.”
Rampado led Niagara in scoring last year with a 12.6 points-per-game average. She was a preseason first-team All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference pick.
Niagara is off to a 1-8 start after Monday’s 57-48 loss to the University at Buffalo. The Purple Eagles are doing well in the front-court this season despite Rampado’s absence.
Sophomore Kaylee Stroemple is averaging 13.3 points a game. She had 18 against UB. Senior Sam Lapszynski is averaging 11.6 ppg.
“The post game has been good, it’s been steady,” Pierce said. “It’s been our guard play that’s been inconsistent, and we’ve been trying to work on that.”
Depth figures to be an issue for Niagara during the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference season. The Purple Eagles have just eight healthy scholarship players. Two scholarship players who began the season, sophomore Simone Hobdy and freshman Mada Radonjic, decided to leave the team. Hobdy, a sophomore guard, averaged 5 minutes a game last year and 19 minutes over the first five games this season. Radonjic saw a few minutes the first three games.
Niagara has added a ninth player on the roster, lacrosse player Taylor Wolf, for roughly the next several weeks. Wolf is a 6-foot junior.
“This core group, I’m really proud of them because they give us everything they’ve got every day,” Pierce said. “With us picking up the lacrosse player, it was something by chance. It wasn’t something we were looking for. She’s going to be joining her team next month, so it’s not like she’s staying with us for the entire season. It’s a temporary situation with us right now.”
Early signees: Niagara announced the signing of three high school players to letters of intent for next season. They are Morgan Baughman, a 5-10 guard from Carlisle, Pa.; Maggie McIntyre, a 5-foot point guard from Mantua, N.J.; and Jai Moore, a 5-9 guard from Brooklyn.
Up next: Niagara visits St. Bonaventure at noon Wednesday. Niagara’s MAAC season starts at home Jan. 2 against Siena. UB plays at Sacred Heart University on Dec. 29 in Fairfield, Conn. UB’s MAC season starts Jan. 2 at Eastern Michigan.