Cathy Rush was the head women's basketball coach at Immaculata from 1972-1977. She led Immaculata to three consecutive AIAW national titles from 1972-1974. She led the Mighty Macs to six consecutive final four appearances in her six seasons with the school, attaining a 149-15 record. Rush was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame on April 7, 2008. She had also been inducted to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.
Immaculata, an all-girls catholic school with an enrollment of 400 students had some major challenges for Cathy Rush. The gym has burned down, and there are no plans for replacement, so all games were away games. The salary was $450 per year and the school owned a single basketball. Rush was only 22, barely older than the players and all five starting players were commuters, driving to school for classes and practice.
Once qualifying for the AIAW national tournament in 1972, Immaculata struggled to gain funding. The team had no budget for post-season travel. The team organized raffles to sell toothbrushes to raise enough money for the trip to Illinois State University. They weren't able to raise enough money for all eleven players so only eight players, plus the coach were able to go. Even then, they had to fly stand-by to stretch their meager funds. They stayed four to a room and two to a bed, limiting their daily spending to seven dollars for meals.The Mighty Macs also had to defeat Cathy Rush's alma mater West Chester College, a team that had beaten them by 32 points just days earlier. Immaculata would go on to win three consecutive titles.
The passage of Title IX improved the accessibility of women's sports at many schools, where programs had to increase funding for women's team. Ironically, it hurt Immaculata, who could not financially complete with the larger schools. They decided not to issue scholarships, which made it difficult to attract the top talent. Rush said, "All of a sudden girls who would have been coming to Immaculata were going elsewhere...We didn’t have a chance with those players." Eventually, the school transitioned from Division I to Division III.
five trips to the championship game of the AIAW Women's Basketball Tournament in six years, winning three conscutive titles.
1975 Coach of the gold medal winning U.S. Women's basketball team at the Pan American games
The first nationally televised game is played by Maryland and Immaculata on January 27, 1975. Some sources report that Immaculata won 80–48, while others report 85–63.