Lombardino seizing opportunities on, off court

The crowd noise in White Auditorium roars. The home team Emporia State Lady Hornets are in full attack mode. With all the chaos going on around, one person stands serenely on the court.

Cassie Lombardino, the pillar of Washburn’s season so far this season (she currently leads the conference in scoring with 17.9 points per game), is assuming a new role this season of veteran leadership.

“I just knew that I had to step up and really do whatever I can to help the team,” said Lombardino. “I just want to go out there and play for the team. There’s no other group of girls I’d rather play for than the ones we have here this year.”

Having backed up two other players coming into this season, the opportunity to step up was one that the coaching staff had been looking for.

“You know, being a backup her first couple of years to some really good players means that it can be tough for a newer team member,” said Ron McHenry, Washburn women’s head coach. “Having to go up against some really strong talent in practice every day can beat up your confidence a little, so this season it’s been great to see Cassie blossom into the player we knew she could be.”

Lombardino, known for her sense of humor, has not only blossomed as a player but also as one of the people that helps to keep the team loose and focused in what has been a successful season thus far.

“She has a strong personality and is a really funny girl,” said McHenry. “She helps to keep our team on an even keel.”

In addition to being the MIAA conference leading scorer, Lombardino also looks forward to taking on her academic pursuits as the semester gets under way.

“I’m just looking forward to getting into my nursing classes,” said Lombardino. “I’m not sure what kind of nursing I’d like to do yet but I’m hoping to get an internship in the future to help me explore those opportunities.”

Beyond school and sports, Lombardino also looks forward to keeping herself busy back home in her hometown of Bonner Springs.

“I just plan on spending any spare time I have babysitting for family and helping coach high school basketball,” said Lombardino.

No matter how the season goes the rest of the year, Lombardino looks forward to time spent with her new family.

“The group we have here makes it easy for me to be here,” said Lombardino. “It’s just a great family type of atmosphere.”