Former basketball star Jess Zinobile’s jersey to be retired on Feb. 9


The Athletics Department will hold a ceremony on Feb. 9 during halftime of the women’s basketball team’s game against Central Connecticut State to retire former standout Jess Zinobile’s jersey.

“I can’t even put into words how much of an honor it is to be getting my jersey retired,” said Zinobile, who played at the University from 1996-2000.

“I am just so lucky I had such an amazing support system through family and all the players I played with through high school and college.

“All of them pushed me to be the best, on and off the court. This is definitely a tribute to all of them.”

Zinobile earned many accolades during her time at SFU. She was the 1996-97 Northeast Conference Newcomer-of-the-Year, a two-time NEC Player-of-the-Year, and a three-time NEC Tournament MVP.

Zinobile also holds the NEC and SFU all-time records for rebounding. Senior guard Jess Kovatch passed Zinobile as the University’s all-time leading scorer in December.

“I think it was just the grittiness of Jess and Jess,” said Saint Francis Director of Athletics and Interim Head Women’s Basketball Coach Susan Robinson Fruchtl. “Those two players are very hard workers and were really self-made players.

“They came from small towns and made a name for themselves and a name for Saint Francis.”

Zinobile is the only player in Northeast Conference history to be drafted by a Women’s National Basketball Association team. The Sacramento Monarchs drafted her in the fourth round of the WNBA Draft in the spring of 2000.

“The (SFU) women’s program has always done a great job recruiting top athletes in the area and continues to build off a strong foundation,” said Zinobile, a native of Lock Haven, Pennsylvania.

“I know the women’s program will continue to be the top program in the NEC due to athletic and administrative dedication to the program.”

Zinobile’s jersey retirement will be part of a day-long celebration of 50 years of women’s athletics at the University.

“It’s really important to remember, recognize and honor the battles that were fought,” said Robinson Fruchtl.

“Most female student-athletes don’t know about the history and the battles that were fought by the women who came before them.”