LEMONT FURNACE, Pa. – Senior Nikki Velez (Gloucester, N.J./Gloucester City) etched her name at the top of Penn State Brandywine's all-time women's basketball scoring list as she poured in 29 points to break the program's all-time scoring record during the Lions' 88-66 victory at Penn State Fayette Friday night.
Playing in her 98th career game, Velez entered Friday needing 19 points to break Dana Johnson-Altobelli's career mark of 1,519 points. Velez wasted no time in surpassing the record, scoring her 19th point of the game with a fast-break layup at the 3:40 mark of the second quarter.
A three-time First Team All-PSUAC guard and member of Brandywine Athletics' inaugural class of hall of famers set to be inducted next weekend, Johnson-Altobelli's career record had stood at 1,519 for nearly 13 seasons. She completed her four-year career on March 10, 2007 with six points during Brandywine's PSUAC Championship victory over Penn State Schuylkill.
Velez, who is also a three-time First Team All-PSUAC standout, has averaged nearly 16 points per game during her career and is also a member of Brandywine softball's 100-hit club as an all-conference performer on the diamond. She now owns 1,530 points.
She quickly moved past her career average, pouring in nine first quarter points, behind a trio of three-pointers. Velez exploded for 15 points during the second period, canning three more triples, including one that brought her within one point of Johnson-Altobelli's record with 3:52 to go. Less than 15 seconds later, Velez collected a steal and banked in a layup to take over first place on Brandywine's all-time scoring list.
After finishing the first half with 24 points, Velez added her seventh three-pointer of the night and another layup during the first 1:03 of the third stanza to finish the evening with 29 points. In 32 minutes overall, she shot 11-of-17 from the field and 7-of-9 from beyond the arc, while adding five rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Brandywine enjoyed a hot-shooting night in rolling to the 22-point victory. The Lions shot 56 percent from the field (37-66), including a 14-of-16 mark during the third quarter, and 9-of-17 from three-point range. Eleven players got in the scoring column overall for Brandywine.
Madison D'Ambrosio (Springfield, Pa./Springfield) collected 14 points, along with a team-best nine rebounds, and Amanda Floyd (Glenolden, Pa./Interboro) chipped in 12 points. Dairayonna Stewart-Harold (New Castle, Del./William Penn) netted nine points and handed out five assists, while Dana D'Ambrosio (Secane, Pa./Ridley) pulled in eight rebounds.
Brandywine led 17-16 after one quarter and continued to lead by a slim margin until ending the first half with a 11-2 run, capped by five Velez points during the final 34 seconds.
The Lions blew the game open by outscoring the hosts 32-13 during the third quarter. Madison D'Ambrosio sank all four of her field goal attempts during the period, with three coming during a 23-2 surge, spanning nearly six minutes, that put the game out of reach.
Brandywine (10-5, 7-2 PSUAC) will tangle with undefeated Penn State Beaver Saturday afternoon at 1:00 pm.