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James, Velez Earn All-Conference Awards; Johnson Named PSUAC Coach Of The Year

Nikki Velez, Brandi James, Larry Johnson
Nikki Velez, Brandi James, Larry Johnson

MEDIA, Pa. -- Two members of Penn State Brandywine's Penn State University Athletic Conference women's basketball championship squad were named all-conference on Sunday as sophomore Nikki Velez (Gloucester, N.J./Gloucester City) earned first team accolades and junior Brandi James (Glenolden, Pa./Interboro) was selected to the second team. Brandywine Head Coach Larry Johnson was also named PSUAC Coach of the Year for the sixth time in his career.

Now a two-time first team honoree, Velez was Brandywine's top scorer at 15.0 points per game. Also for the second consecutive year, Velez topped all PSUAC players in three-point shooting as she shot 40 percent from beyond the arc and knocked down 68 triples overall. She buried at least one three-pointer in 23 of the 24 games she played, hitting five or more on five occasions, including three times during the team's final four contests.

During the team's final five games, Velez netted at least 20 points in each and she poured in over 20 points seven times overall this winter. Velez also ranked near the top of the league in steals, collecting 67 thefts to finish third. She added 3.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.

Additionally, Velez was named as the John Fritz Sportsmanship Award winner. Named after former PSUAC Commissioner John Fritz, the sportsmanship award is given to one player from each team in the league who best displays the core values of the league and sportsmanship to teammates and opponents throughout the season.

James was one of two Lions to start all 27 games. She served as the team's second-leading scorer at 11.4 points per game, while adding a team-best 7.6 rebounds per contest. James' five double-doubles were the highest mark on the team as she topped 10 boards on seven occasions.

Among PSUAC players, James finished 12th in rebounding and 20th in scoring. She added 1.2 steals per game, while shooting nearly 50 percent from the field, a mark that stands third in the PSUAC.

Johnson has now won PSUAC Coach of the Year honors during half of his 12 seasons on the sideline at Brandywine after leading the team to its fourth conference championship during his tenure on Sunday. Brandywine will make its fifth appearance at the USCAA Tournament, most all-time among teams from Brandywine.

After setting a program record with 22 victories last winter, Johnson guided Brandywine to a 21-6 mark this season for the team's first-ever back-to-back 20-win seasons. Johnson owns a 224-107 (.677) record since becoming head coach prior to the 2006-07 season.