Women’s Basketball Headed Back To USCAA Tournament

Brandywine women's basketball 2018
Brandywine women's basketball 2018

MEDIA, Pa. -- The Penn State Brandywine women's basketball team will be seeded fifth when the Lions begin their United States Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament run on Thursday against No. 4 Warren Wilson College inside Maltho Arena on the campus of Penn State Fayette. Game time is scheduled for 7:30 PM.

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• Brandywine will be playing at the USCAA Tournament for the fifth time in program history, the most among any of Brandywine's 16 varsity teams. All five of the Lions' appearances have come since the 2009-10 season under the guidance of Head Coach Larry Johnson. Brandywine is competing at the national level in back-to-back years for the first time since 2009-10 and 2010-11.

• Brandywine meets Warren Wilson College for the first time on Thursday in the national quarterfinals. Warren Wilson, located in western North Carolina, earned a bid to the USCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013-14. The Owls sport an 18-8 record, but three of their losses came to NCAA Division I opponents.

• Brandywine received the automatic bid to the USCAA Tournament after the Lions captured the Penn State University Athletic Conference Tournament for the second-straight year. On their home floor, Brandywine defeated No. 2 Penn State Lehigh Valley 70-63 on Feb. 18 in the championship game. The title was Brandywine's sixth all-time and fourth during Johnson's 12-year tenure.

• Following Sunday's championship game, a pair of players from Brandywine received all-conference selections. Nikki Velez earned first team recognition for the second-straight year after leading the team in scoring at 15.0 points per game, while Brandi James, the team's top rebounder (7.6 rpg) and second-leading scorer (11.4 ppg), claimed second team honors. In addition, Johnson earned PSUAC Coach of the Year for the sixth time.

• Entering the USCAA Tournament, Brandywine owns 21 victories, one win shy of matching the single-season program record set last season. In Johnson's 12 seasons on the bench, the Lions have won at least 20 games four times.

• Brandywine ranks as the fourth-best free throw shooting team in the USCAA at 68 percent and stands eighth in three-point shooting (31.1 percent), while Warren Wilson also lists free throw and three-point shooting as strengths as the Owls shoot 76 percent from the charity stripe and 33.4 percent from beyond the arc. Individually, Velez tied for sixth in three-point percentage (40.0) and stands eighth overall with 68 total triples this season.

• Joining the women at the USCAA Tournament for the first time will be Brandywine's men's basketball team, which also won the PSUAC title. Brandywine is one of four teams to be represented in both the men's and women's brackets. Brandywine is also one of fewer than 60 schools at any level of college basketball this season to have two 20-win teams. In the state of Pennsylvania, only Brandywine, Cabrini, IUP, Juniata and Villanova feature a pair of 20-win basketball teams.

• A win on Thursday would send Brandywine to the semifinals on Friday night at 9:00 pm against either No. 1 Central Maine or No. 8 Penn State Fayette.