Velez Scores 41 As Brandywine Fends Off Schuylkill

Nikki Velez
Nikki Velez

MEDIA, Pa. -- Senior Nikki Velez (Gloucester, N.J./Gloucester City) scored 18 of her career-high 41 points in the fourth quarter to help the Penn State Brandywine women's basketball team hold off Penn State Schuylkill and claim a 80-76 victory on Saturday afternoon.

Velez's 41 points marked the second 40-point effort in team history and were one point shy of tying Dana Johnson's single-game record of 42 set in 2007. Her nine three-pointers were also one off Rachel Hurwitz's program mark set in 1998. Overall, Velez made 14-of-23 field goal attempts, including 9-of-13 from beyond the arc, while adding four rebounds and three steals.

Velez knocked down a pair of triples and netted 10 points in all during the first quarter to aid the Lions in overcoming an early six-point deficit to take a 19-18 edge after 10 minutes.

Two three-pointers from Velez, one from Madison D'Ambrosio (Springfield, Pa./Springfield) and layups by Hope Coacher (Ardmore, Pa./Haverford) and Ally Giannakarios (Brookhaven, Pa./Sun Valley) spurred a 13-0 Brandywine surge, putting the hosts on top 38-25 late in the second quarter. Schuylkill tallied the final four points of the period to get within nine at the break.

The visitors closed the margin to six points near the mid-point of the third quarter, but Madison D'Ambrosio and Dana D'Ambrosio (Secane, Pa./Ridley) combined for nine-straight Brandywine points as the Lions opened up their biggest lead of the afternoon at 55-40.

However, Madison D'Ambrosio's triple with 4:19 to go would be the Lions' final field goal for nearly four minutes. Schuylkill rallied, using a 17-3 surge to get the deficit to just one at 58-57, before Dairayonna Stewart-Harold (New Castle, Del./William Penn) gave the Lions a 60-57 edge with a bucket just before the close of the third period.

Schuylkill tallied the first six points of the final stanza to take a 63-60 advantage. After a Dana D'Ambrosio layup, Velez would take over the game, pouring in Brandywine's final 18 points. She sank two free throws and then knocked down four consecutive triples to complete a 16-0 Brandywine surge that gave the hosts a 76-63 lead with 3:28 to go.

The visitors made the game close down the stretch, outscoring Brandywine 13-4 during the final two minutes, but Velez buried her fifth three-pointer of the quarter and a free throw during the final seconds to hold Schuylkill off.

Dana D'Ambrosio and Madison D'Ambrosio both collected 10 points for the Lions, who shot 44 percent from the field and connected on 11 three-pointers, while Amanda Floyd (Glenolden, Pa./Interboro) chipped in seven rebounds, four steals and four points.

Brandywine forced 22 turnovers, scoring 27 points off Schuylkill miscues, but the visitors kept the game close by knocking down 17-of-18 shots at the free throw line.

Brandywine (14-7, 11-4 PSUAC) visits Valley Forge for its final non-conference test of the year on Thursday at 7:00 pm.

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