Lions Drop Neumann Tournament Opener

Nikki Velez
Nikki Velez

ASTON, Pa. -- Penn State Brandywine trailed by just five points at the half, but Neumann used a 14-3 run to open the final stanza, pulling away from the Lions for a 75-56 triumph in the opening game of the Knights' tip-off tournament on Saturday afternoon.

Neumann opened up a 17-7 lead late in the first quarter, but a three-pointer by Chrissy Gledhill (Secane, Pa./Cardinal O'Hara) and a trio of free throws from Nikki Velez (Gloucester, N.J./Gloucester City) helped the Lions climb within 18-13 after 10 minutes.

The Knights maintained their five-point edge throughout the second quarter before Shauntel Williams connected on two free throws and Nafisa Saunders followed with a triple, swelling the lead back to double figures. However, Brandywine held Neumann scoreless over the final 2:48 of the half, scoring the final five points, to make the score 35-30 at the break.

A three-point play from Velez accounted for the lone Lion points during the first 5:26 of the second half as the Knights managed to extend the margin to 49-33. Neumann's lead reached 20 points early in the fourth quarter following Williams' triple and would not dip below 15 during the final nine minutes.

Velez, the only Lion to reach double figures, was the game's high scorer, pouring in 25 points. She shot 7-of-12 from the field and sank 9-of-11 free throw attempts in 36 minutes of action.

Brandi James (Glenolden, Pa./Interboro) collected six points and six rebounds, while Madison D'Ambrosio (Springfield, Pa./Springfield) added four boards and three assists.

Neumann held a 50-31 advantage on the boards and used 26 offensive rebounds to net 27 second-chance points.

Brandywine (0-2) will face Bryn Athyn in the tournament consolation game on Sunday afternoon at noon.