(WFRV) – For the first time since taking over the women’s basketball program in 2019, Amanda Leonhard-Perry has led St. Norbert to the DIII NCAA Tournament.

The Green Knights struck gold with Leonhard-Perry. Coming from the UW-Green Bay women’s basketball program as an assistant coach for more than a decade Leonhard-Perry wanted to carry one thing into St. Norbert with her, and that’s winning.

In her third season with the program, Leonhard-Perry helped lead the Green Knights to a perfect conference record (18-0) and a NACC Tournament title. With an automatic bid into the DIII NCAA Tournament, the chance to play in March was a cherry on top for the winningest season in school history.

“I wanted to be able to get this program back to being able to experience conference championships, NCAA tournaments, you know. That level of success that it was used to,” said Leonhard-Perry.

Leonhard-Perry carries a healthy balance of being a player’s coach. She’s able to humanize the sport of basketball in a way that her players appreciate.

“She’s intense, but she’s a fun coach. She’s a loving coach. She cares about us at practice or off the court, and that matters to us as players,” says senior Olivia DeCleene.

Even though it may be Leonhard-Perry’s first NCAA Tournament as St. Norbert’s head coach, she has plenty of experience from her tenure with Green Bay. She has expressed to her players to enjoy the moment.

“You never know when it’s going to happen. You never know when it’s going to happen, if it’s going to happen, if you’re going to get a chance to do it, so soak every last bit of it in. Whether it’s the six-hour bus ride, whether it’s the restaurants we eat at, whether it’s practice, just enjoy it with your teammates and soak it up,” Leonhard-Perry expressed.

St. Norbert will face defending national champion Hope College in the first round of the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Tournament.

The Green Knights will play the Flying Dutch at 8 p.m. EST (7 p.m. CST) on Friday at DeVos Fieldhouse in Holland, Mich. Baldwin Wallace University and Wartburg College are squaring off in the other first-round game at Hope, with the first-round winners meeting at 7:30 p.m. EST (6:30 p.m. CST) Saturday.