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By Paul Carmany, October 31, 2019

Former LU, WNBA player Katie (Feenstra) Mattera is an
assistant coach the Lady Flames can truly look up to

Arguably the greatest player in Liberty University Women’s Basketball history has returned to the program in a new role. Katie (Feenstra) Mattera (’05) will serve as an assistant coach for the Lady Flames during the upcoming 2019-20 season.

“We are so excited to have Katie back,” said Lady Flames’ Head Coach Carey Green, who is beginning his 21st season at the helm. “She coined the phrase, ‘Why not Liberty?!’ during our 2005 NCAA Sweet 16 run when asked why she chose Liberty when she could have gone anywhere in the country. Katie is one of the faces of success in our program, but none stand any taller. She brings a passion for Liberty and for the basketball program.”

Mattera previously served six seasons (2012-18) as head coach of Cornerstone University Women’s Basketball in her hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich. She posted a 112-78 coaching record and guided the Golden Eagles to a pair of NAIA National Tournament appearances (2014 and 2018) and the 2018 Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) Tournament title. Mattera was named the WHAC Champions of Character Coach in both 2017 and 2018.

“The way that the Lord has unfolded every single piece of the puzzle and revealed them to me, He clearly showed me this was the spot where He wanted me to be,” Mattera said. “I truly believe Liberty has shaped and molded me and how I am as a wife, mother, and basketball coach. I grew in my faith through interactions with my professors, Coach Green, and my teammates. I was challenged daily to stand up for what I believe in and why I believe it.”

Before Green reached out to her this past spring about an opening on his coaching staff, Mattera spent the 2018-19 season as an assistant coach for the Liberty Christian Academy girls’ basketball team in Lynchburg, Va.

“I got into coaching because I wanted to be a mentor,” Mattera said. “I wanted to give back.”

“I don’t believe there is anyone who could be a better representative and recruiter for our women’s basketball program,” Green added. “We expect Katie to have a major impact on the development of post play for our team. She will faithfully provide spiritual guidance to our team as a mentor.”

Katie (Feenstra) Mattera was the first three-time Big South Conference Women’s Player of the Year from 2003-05. (Photo by Les Schofer)

On the court, Mattera led the Lady Flames to four straight Big South Conference titles and NCAA Tournament appearances, culminating with the program’s first and only NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 run in her senior season (2004-05). She played alongside older sister Meribeth (Feenstra) Anderson during her freshman and sophomore campaigns.

The 6-foot, 8-inch center became the Lady Flames’ first NCAA Division I All-American, earning Associated Press honorable mention recognition as both a junior and senior. She was the first-ever three-time Big South Women’s Basketball Player of the Year (2003, 2004, and 2005) and was also named Big South Championship MVP during each of those seasons.

Mattera led the nation in field goal percentage in both 2003-04 and 2004-05, on her way to scoring 1,845 career points. She owns program records for career field goals made (764), field goal percentage (62.2), and blocked shots (257).

After graduating from Liberty, Mattera embarked upon a successful professional career. She was selected with the No. 8 pick in the first round of the 2005 WNBA Draft and went on to be a unanimous WNBA All-Rookie Team selection for the San Antonio Silver Stars. Mattera played five seasons in the WNBA, totaling 1,000 career points and helping the Detroit Shock reach the 2007 WNBA Finals.

Katie (Feenstra) Mattera played for the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream among other teams. (NBA/Getty Images)

Mattera’s five-year professional career also included time in China and South Korea. She represented Team USA in tournaments in Spain and Russia, helping her team win a silver medal in the 2007 FIBA World League Tournament.

Mattera is a member of three halls of fame: Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame (2012), Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame (2015), and Big South Conference Hall of Fame (2016).

This season, Mattera will primarily work with the Lady Flames’ post players as she attempts to guide the team to its first ASUN Conference title and its 18th NCAA Tournament appearance overall.

She is excited to witness the return of 2017-18 Big South Player of the Year Keyen Green, a redshirt junior forward/center who missed the entire 2018-19 season due to injury.

“I think she can be a dominating force inside,” Mattera said. “She is so ready to get out there, be successful and help her team.”

The Lady Flames’ post player corps also features junior Bridgette Rettstatt, who stepped up as an All-ASUN performer in Green’s absence last season.

“Bridgette can do anything,” Mattera said. “She can play inside or outside and is so mobile.”

In all, Liberty returns five of its top six scorers from last year’s squad, which reached the ASUN Conference championship game. The 2019-20 season will tip off Nov. 5 with a visit to Norfolk State. Three nights later, the Lady Flames will host ETSU as part of a doubleheader with the reigning ASUN champion ASUN champion Liberty Men’s Basketball team.

View the full schedule at LibertyFlames.com.

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