Scranton, PA – Recruited to play at Lackawanna College in 2011, Brittany Nelson, experienced many highs and lows but nothing like her transfer year at California University of Pennsylvania, the death of a teammate and now the euphoria of being a member of a National Championship Team. The later was accomplished last night, when California defeated California Baptist 86-69 for the NCAA Division II National Championship.
In her first year at Cal U, she was a bench player, who saw action in 20 games in which she averaged a point and two rebounds a contest. Her highlight games were against Mansfield University, where she grabbed her season high nine rebounds, and Seton Hill, when she grabbed 8 rebounds. In the final four Nelson had three rebounds in the semifinal game against Emporia State.
Nelson started her Lackawanna Career in 2011 when she played on the Falcon team that went to the NJCAA Division II Women's Basketball Tournament, only to leave Lackawanna's opening game in that Tourney with a knee injury.
The following, year she rehabbed and rested her knee. During that hiatus from the game, she kept herself involved by running the clock during practice and keeping score during regular season games. More importantly Brittany learned the finer points of the game by listening to Coach Janice Brim's on court instructions during team practices.
In her final year under first year Head Coach Joya Whittington, she averaged a season double-double of 15 points and 15 rebounds per game; was named to the Region XIX Division II All Region team; recognized as an NJCAA Division II All American; and, had her game Jersey hung in the rafters of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame during the 2014-2015 season.
At California, her lows couldn't get any lower, when she and her teammates had to deal with the unexpected death on January 18thof their teammate Shanice Clark. Clark's death was attributed to a sickle cell blood disorder. Since then, Nelson and her team dedicated the remainder of their season to winning the National Championship. Losing their first game after the death, the Vulcans only lost one more, their regular season finale, while winning fifteen to reach their goal; a championship, a ring, and a fulfilled promise.
In commenting on last night's championship victory, Lackawanna's head coach, Joya Whittington said, "Everyone in our program is very happy for Brittany. To us she is a very special student athlete, who she is and what she has accomplished defines our mission in the athletic department at Lackawanna College" Whittington added, "She has again raised the bar for our women's basketball program and we could not be more proud of her."
In her concluding comments, Whittington stated, "Brittany, you've experienced a lot over the last three years, you've stayed the course and now you have the ultimate symbol of athletic success, a championship ring. Enjoy it!"