NEPA Sports Nation

Rose, Lavelle to play in women’s NIT

By Tom Robinson,

Scranton Prep graduate Rachael Rose and Riverside graduate Kylie Lavelle will each get the chance to play in women’s NIT after their schools were formally announced as part of the field Monday.

Wofford, with Rose leading the way, and Drexel, with Lavelle in the starting lineup as a freshman, are part of the women’s Postseason National Invitation Tournament. The postseason event is in its 25th season of competition for the top women’s basketball teams in the country that fall short of selection into the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Tournament.

The tournament begins Wednesday and both Wofford and Drexel are in action Thursday.

Wofford is at Florida at 6 p.m. and Drexel goes to Fordham for a 7 p.m. game.

The Wofford-Florida winner will advance to face the Wake Forest-Morgan State winner in the second round of the 64-team event. The Drexel-Fordham winner will face the Columbia-Fairleigh Dickinson winner.

The second round will be played between Saturday and March 21. The tournament continues until April 1 when the final will be played at 5:30 on the CBS Sports Network.

Southern Conference regular-season champion Wofford (22-9) was an automatic NIT selection as the conference’s top non-NCAA qualifying team. Florida is 16-14 and joins Drexel (21-9) and Fordham (18-12) among the half of the field made up by at-large selections.

Rose was named Southern Conference Player of the Year in her first season at Wofford after the sophomore guard was the Freshman of the Year for the Big South Conference last season at the University of South Carolina Upstate.

The honors continued Friday when Rose became the first Wofford player to twice earn SoCon Player of the Month honors, adding the February award to her selection in November.

“I am really happy for Rachael to receive this recognition once again,” Wofford coach Jimmy Garrity said, according to a story on the school’s athletic website. “Her play for the month of February was fantastic. She works extremely hard to be the best player she can be for her teammates.

“I’m super proud of her.”

Rose shot 59-for-98 (60.2 percent) from the floor while averaging 21.9 points in February. She averaged 5.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.6 steals while scoring in double figures in all seven games.

In March, Rose scored in double figures 3 more times in the conference tournament to extend her school record streak to 18 games scoring in double figures.

Rose scored more than 20 points in each of the last 3 games of the month, including a career-high 32 points at Chattanooga. She also had a pair of eight-assist games.

On the season, Rose averages 17.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.0 steals while shooting 51.1 percent from the floor, 41.9 percent on 3-pointers and 79.6 percent on free throws.

Lavelle had her college career off to a brilliant start before missing seven early-season games with a lower body injury.

The 6-foot-2 freshman forward came off the bench in her first game back, then returned to the starting lineup but playing fewer minutes than she had at the start.

Lavelle made the Colonial Athletic Association All-Rookie Team and was selected Rookie of the Week four times, including on March 6 after she went 7-for-8 from the line while finishing with 19 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals in the regular-season finale against North Carolina A&T.

In her first four college games, Lavelle averaged 20.5 points and 6.0 rebounds while going 34-for-52 (65.4 percent) from the floor and 5-for-7 (71.4 percent) on 3-pointers. She added 11 points in her fifth college game before missing time.

In 23 games, including 22 starts, Lavelle averaged 11.1 points and 3.7 rebounds in 20.6 minutes per game. She shot 47.0 percent from the floor, 32.5 percent on 3-pointers and 72.2 percent from the line.

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