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Women's Basketball: McDaniel's Nichols nabs second straight POY nod

McDaniel's Lindsey Nichols looks to shoot in front of Swarthmore's Abbey Deckard at McDaniel College in Westminster Dec. 5.
McDaniel's Lindsey Nichols looks to shoot in front of Swarthmore's Abbey Deckard at McDaniel College in Westminster Dec. 5. (DAVE MUNCH/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

When McDaniel takes the court tonight, it will do so led by senior guards Brittney Davis and Lindsey Nichols. And the backcourt tandem will bring some new postseason accolades with them.

Nichols is the Centennial Conference Player of the Year for the second consecutive season, and part of the all-conference first team, while Davis is on the Centennial's all-honorable mention squad. The Green Terror (21-6) host Waynesburg (14-13) on Wednesday at 7 in an Eastern College Athletic Conference South tournament quarterfinal.

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Nichols makes her second all-Centennial appearance (a unanimous pick this year) and gives McDaniel its third player of the year selection. Nichols leads the team and the conference in scoring at 19.6 points per game — good for 29th in the nation among Division III players — and she leads the Terror with a program-record 77 made 3-pointers. Her 530 points this year is also a program record.

She is also second in the conference with 77 steals, and third with 87 made free throws.

"There are so many people in this conference who are very, very talented," Nichols said. "To choose me above everyone else, it just feels good to be recognized and I'm very honored."

Nichols has 1,371 career points, and with five more she'll become the Green Terror's third all-time leading scorer.

"I am elated for the recognition," McDaniel coach Becky Martin said. "For Lindsey to be a two-time player of the year is phenomenal. We're just so proud of what she has been able to accomplish."

Davis, now a two-time all-honorable mention pick, leads McDaniel with 130 assists (second most in the Centennial). She's McDaniel's third-leading scorer at 9.3 points per game, and adds 37 steals.

Like Nichols, Davis has started all 27 games for the Terror this season.

"She is such a key and critical component to this team's success," Martin said of Davis, who was also part of the Centennial's Academic Honor Roll. "This young lady is just the glue that made this team as successful as we were this year. Her leadership on the court ... she was a rock.

"She's one of the best point guards that I've had the pleasure of coaching."

McDaniel reached the Centennial Conference tourney finals for the second time in as many seasons, this time at top-seeded Muhlenberg. Last year, the Mules beat the Terror at Gill Center to take the crown. This time, they hosted McDaniel and pulled away in the second half to win 83-59.

The loss dashed the Green Terror's hopes of making another NCAA tournament berth. Instead, they earned the No. 2 seed in the ECAC South tourney. A win Wednesday over seventh-seeded Waynesburg and No. 2 McDaniel could host the semifinals Saturday against either Stevenson (14-10) or Neumann (17-11), provided top-seeded Washington & Jefferson (22-5) gets upset by No. 8 Penn State Behrend (15-11) in their quarterfinal.

The highest remaining seed hosts the semifinal and championship games.

"We want to do all we can to finish out the season with a win," Nichols said. "We're going to play as hard as we can."

Call it a consolation prize of sorts, and Martin said the coaching staff's challenge this week is to be sure McDaniel is mentally prepared.

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"This week they're sort of still in a grieving period," Martin said. "They had their sights set on something, but it didn't work out. Hopefully, there's a part of the love for the game and being competitive that can still be there. We had a phenomenal season, we surpassed our original expectations. But our final game was not one of best performances. Our seniors deserve a better final performance, win or lose. And that's how we're going into this."

NOTE: To see the entire all-Centennial team, go to centennial.org.

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