YORK, Pa. -- Less than 24 hours after making 15 three-pointers in its semifinal victory over Penn State Fayette, fourth-seeded Penn State Brandywine repeated the feat during its 71-53 triumph over third-seeded Penn State Hazleton on Sunday afternoon, helping the Lions claim the Penn State University Athletic Conference Women's Basketball Tournament Championship.
Chrissy Gledhill (Secane, Pa./Cardinal O'Hara) led the three-point blitz by burying seven shots from beyond the arc, the highest single-game triple total by a Lion in at least seven seasons. Gledhill finished the game with a career-high 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting (7-13 3PT) in 27 minutes of action.
Nikki Velez (Gloucester, N.J./Gloucester City), who was named PSUAC Newcomer of the Year and first team all-conference earlier in the day, added four triples and 20 total points, while Chelsea Dent (Yeadon, Pa./Penn Wood) made a trio of three-pointers, netting 13 points overall.
Velez, who scored at least 20 points during all three games of Brandywine's tournament run to the title, collected her first-career double-double by adding 10 rebounds, along with five steals and three assists. Dent recorded six boards, three helpers and two steals.
For the second-straight day, Brandywine connected on 15 three-pointers, while making just eight two-point field goals. Prior to the weekend, the Lions had made 10 trifectas in a game just twice since the beginning of the 2014-15 season.
Brandywine has now won three PSUAC crowns during Head Coach Larry Johnson's 11-year tenure. The team will receive the conference automatic bid to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament, which begins March 1 in Uniontown, Pa., for the fourth time in the program's history.
The Lions, who have won 21 of their last 25 games after an 0-3 start to the season, never trailed against Hazleton. Velez and Dent both made three-pointers to give Brandywine a 6-2 lead 2:15 into the game and the Lions extended their edge to 13 points before Hazleton scored the final six points of the stanza for an 18-11 margin after one.
Brandywine held Hazleton to just five second quarter points, all coming at the free throw line, extending their lead to 12 points at halftime. Brandywine held Hazleton to 0-16 shooting during the quarter and limited Hazleton to just three made field goals on 26 attempts prior to halftime.
Hazleton netted the first four points of the second half, but Brandi James (Glenolden, Pa./Interboro) started a 9-0 Brandywine run, which included a pair of Gledhill triples, with a jumper at the 7:44 mark as the Lions' lead stretched to 37-20.
Brandywine pushed the margin as large as 22 points during the fourth quarter, never allowing Hazleton to cut its deficit slimmer than 14 points the rest of the way.
Brandywine held a 47-42 edge on the boards and held Hazleton to just 2-of-16 shooting from beyond the arc. Nicolette Napoleon (Springfield, Pa./Penn Charter) grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds, while Madison D'Ambrosio (Springfield, Pa./Springfield) hauled in eight boards.
Brandywine will face Villa Maria College in the first round of the USCAA National Basketball Championship held at Penn State Fayette on Thursday, March 2. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Written by: Jeff Scarpone