Honoka Ikematsu helps Robert Morris University reach NCAA Women's Tournament

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Sophomore guard Honoka Ikematsu helped the Robert Morris University women’s basketball team book a spot in the 64-team NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.

The Colonials’ 65-54 victory over Saint Francis University in the Northeast Conference Tournament final on Sunday gave them an automatic bid.

Ikematsu, who attended Kumamoto Kokufu High School, contributed four points and two steals in Sunday’s win. Through Sunday, the Kumamoto native has averaged 7.3 points, 1.3 rebounds and1.2 assists in 30 games (14 starts) while knocking down 53 3-pointers. RMU has another Japanese connection: Assistant coach Asami Morita, a former Kansai University women’s coach, is in her fifth season with the Colonials.

“I’m very excited for the opportunity to compete in the NCAA Tournament,” RMU head coach Charlie Buscaglia in a statement. “We just learned that we’re playing Louisville, so we’re ready to get to work and get the game plan together to prepare us for Friday. I hope that all of our fans can make it out and support the program, because it means so much to us.”

Up next: No. 16 seed RMU (22-10 overall, 16-2 in the NEC) will face Albany Region top seed Louisville (29-3) in an NCAA first-round game on Friday in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Colonials have advanced to the NCAA Tournament five previous times, doing so most recently in 2017.