Brandywine Tops Lehigh Valley In Key PSUAC East Matchup

Nikki Velez
Nikki Velez

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Penn State Brandywine held off a late Penn State Lehigh Valley rally and moved back into first place in PSUAC East Division women's basketball following a 62-60 road victory Tuesday night.

The victory gave Brandywine a season sweep of Lehigh Valley as the Lions also defeated their rivals at home in November, 61-55. Brandywine now owns a 10-4 league record and the inside track to the No. 1 seed from the East Division in the PSUAC Tournament with four conference games remaining, while Lehigh Valley dropped to 9-4 in the PSUAC.

The Lions held an 11-point fourth quarter lead before Lehigh Valley ended the game with a 14-5 run.

Brandywine owned a 48-43 edge entering the final quarter and limited the hosts to just one basket during the first five minutes of the fourth period to grow the margin to 57-46.

Nikki Velez (Gloucester, N.J./Gloucester City) sank two free throws to start the quarter, while Dana D'Ambrosio (Secane, Pa./Ridley) and Amelia Brooks (Springfield, Pa./Springfield) added layups to make the score 54-46.

Velez buried her first of two fourth quarter three-pointers to give the Lions their biggest lead of the night with 5:37 to go, but the Lehigh Valley offense found life, scoring eight-straight points to get within three at the 2:33 mark.

However, Velez came up big for Brandywine, ending the Lions' four-minute drought by canning another triple to double the margin. After three free throws during a span of 40 seconds from Brianna Mobley brought the hosts within three, Lehigh Valley had an opportunity to tie the game with 10 seconds to play, but Velez blocked Mobley's three-point heave and Madison D'Ambrosio (Springfield, Pa./Springfield) grabbed the rebound for Brandywine. D'Ambrosio knocked down two free throws with seven seconds on the clock to put the game away.

Velez finished the night with a game-high 22 points, along with five rebounds and three steals. Dana D'Ambrosio produced a 10-point, 12-rebound double-double and added three steals, while Madison D'Ambrosio collected 10 points.

The first half of the game went back-and-forth as neither team held a lead larger than three points until Anaya White's layup put Lehigh Valley on top 26-21 at the 4:33 mark of the second quarter. Brandywine rallied to get within one at halftime and used a 7-2 spurt to close the third period to take a five-point edge into the final 10 minutes.

Brandywine recorded assists on 17-of-23 baskets and shot 33 percent from the field, while Lehigh Valley shot 38 percent from the floor. Lehigh Valley was marred by poor free throw shooting, making just 8-of-18 attempts.

Brandywine (13-7, 10-4 PSUAC) can lock up one of the four postseason spots from the PSUAC East Division with a victory Saturday at home against Penn State Schuylkill (1:00 pm).

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