MEDIA, Pa. -- The 2017-18 basketball season officially gets underway at Penn State Brandywine as both the men's and women's team are in action during the regular season for the first time. The Brandywine men open with a home game against McDaniel at 7:00 pm, while the women's team visits Rosemont for a 6:00 pm game.
Brandywine's women's team, coming off its third Penn State University Athletic Conference championship since 2006-07, returns 11 players from last year's roster. After setting a school record with 22 victories last winter, Head Coach Larry Johnson, who owns a 203-101 record in 11 seasons at Brandywine, appears to have his team primed for another title run in 2017-18.
Brandywine's experienced group of returners is led by USCAA First Team All-American Nikki Velez. Also the PSUAC Newcomer of the Year, Velez was one of the top shooters in the conference, pouring in a league-high 81 three-pointers en route to scoring 513 points (17.1 ppg).
After starting last season 4-4, Velez and fellow sophomore Kendra Stanford were inserted into the starting lineup for the first time on Dec. 9 and Brandywine won its next 10 games, while posting a 13-2 record overall with the duo in the starting lineup. Stanford, who missed time late in the year due to injury, averaged 7.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game as a freshman.
Inside, the team will look to junior Brandi James, who was the Lions' second-leading scorer, averaging 10.2 points per game, a six-point improvement per game from her freshman year. Sophomore Madison D'Ambrosio and junior Nicolette Napoleon, fresh off a PSUAC championship with the Brandywine volleyball team this fall, also return to the front court.
Brandywine's most experienced players are a pair of seniors in Alyssa Abbonizio and Chrissy Gledhill. Gledhill is the Lions' third-leading returning scorer after averaging 7.7 points per game last season, including a career-high 26-point performance with seven three-pointers during Brandywine's PSUAC championship victory over Penn State Hazleton. She buried at least two triples in eight of the team's final 10 games. A veteran of 75 career games, Abbonizio made 27 starts last season, totaling 5.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per outing.
Brandywine opens the season with four-straight games away from home and plays 11 of its first 15 games on the road. The Lions' first home game of the year is Monday, Nov. 27 at 7:00 pm against Penn State Berks.
Unlike its female counterparts, the Brandywine men's team will be comprised mainly of new faces as first-year Head Coach Ben Kay welcomes 11 newcomers to his 16-man roster. Seven of the newcomers are freshmen, while the coaching staff expects four transfers to have an immediate impact on the court.
Three of Brandywine's five returning players are seniors in James Fisher, Cyrie Spencer and Isaiah Lester. Fisher and Spencer both have the opportunity to reach the 1,000-point club this season as each enters the year with over 860 career points. Fisher scored 12.4 points per game, while sinking a team-high 34 three-pointers. The top returning rebounder, Spencer pulled down 5.8 boards and added 8.2 points per game. Lester contributed 4.1 points per outing and was one of just three players to see time in all 25 games last season.
After playing its season-opening game at home, Brandywine will be on the road for its next four games, including its first PSUAC matchup on Nov. 28 at Schuylkill.
The Lions nine-game nonconference slate will be highlighted by a trip to the Palestra to face Penn on Saturday, Nov. 18 at 11:30 AM. The game will mark the first time any team from Brandywine has faced a NCAA Division I opponent.
The nonconference schedule also features six Division III foes, including home dates with McDaniel (Nov. 15), Alvernia (Dec. 20) and Haverford (Jan. 3).
June 11, 2018 Brandywine Places Fourth In USCAA Director’s Cup
March 2, 2018 Lions' Dream Season Concludes In USCAA Semifinals
February 27, 2018 Men’s Basketball Makes First-Ever Trip To USCAA Tournament
February 20, 2018 Brandywine Basketball Teams Learn Seeding, USCAA First Round Opponents
February 19, 2018 Seniors Land PSUAC Men’s Basketball Honors
February 18, 2018 Brandywine Claims First-Ever PSUAC Men’s Basketball Championship
February 17, 2018 Brandywine Tops York 80-69; Advances To First Title Game In 27 Years
February 16, 2018 Men’s Basketball Returns To Postseason; Hosts PSUAC Semifinals Saturday
February 9, 2018 Seniors Pace Brandywine To Victory In Regular-Season Finale
February 6, 2018 York Downs Brandywine 78-73
February 6, 2018 Brandywine Basketball Celebrating Senior Class Friday Night
February 3, 2018 Lions Battle Past Schuylkill 86-81
February 2, 2018 Brandywine Runs Past Hazleton, Into Postseason
January 30, 2018 Second-Half Surge Sparks Brandywine To Sweep Of Mont Alto
January 27, 2018 Brandywine Holds Off New Kensington For 76-62 Victory
January 26, 2018 Brandywine Claims Key PSUAC Victory In Overtime
January 23, 2018 Brandywine Overcomes Williamson In Final Non-Conference Test
January 20, 2018 GA Drops Brandywine In Double Overtime
January 19, 2018 Brandywine Holds Off Late Beaver Rally For 70-57 Win
January 15, 2018 Brandywine Outlasts Wilkes Barre 109-100 In Double Overtime
January 13, 2018 Brown Helps Brandywine Bounce Back At Mont Alto
January 12, 2018 DuBois Sends Brandywine To First PSUAC Loss
January 10, 2018 USCAA Selects Fisher National Player Of The Week
January 3, 2018 Late Run Propels Haverford Past Brandywine
December 20, 2017 Alvernia Halts Brandywine’s Winning Streak At Seven
December 9, 2017 Lions Run Away From Scranton, 84-57
December 5, 2017 Brown Lands PSUAC Player Of The Week Award
December 5, 2017 Fisher Reaches 1,000 Career Points In Victory Over York
December 2, 2017 Lions' Winning Run Reaches Five Games With Road Victory
November 30, 2017 Brandywine Displays Historic Offensive Showcase In Rout Of Davis
November 29, 2017 Midnight Madness Basketball Games Coming To Brandywine Dec. 8
November 28, 2017 PSUAC Names Tindley Player Of The Week
November 28, 2017 Brandywine Opens PSUAC Slate With Victory At Schuylkill
November 26, 2017 Brandywine Fends Off Valley Forge; Evens Record At 2-2
November 21, 2017 Brandywine Picks Up First Victory, 90-83, At Abington
November 18, 2017 Brandywine Downed By Penn In The Palestra
November 17, 2017 Men's Basketball Ready For Palestra Showdown With Penn
November 15, 2017 McDaniel Clips Brandywine In Season Opener
November 14, 2017 Basketball Season Tips Off Wednesday
October 24, 2017 Tickets Available For Men’s Basketball Versus Penn At The Palestra
September 7, 2017 Coach Kay Using Basketball To Create A Social Change In Jamaica
August 7, 2017 Men’s Basketball To Face Penn At The Palestra