Lady Lions center Natalie Kelly granted immediate eligibility for 2020-21

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Kelly Granted Immediate Eligibility for 2020-21

HAMMOND, La. – Less than a week from the 2020-21 season opener, Lady Lion junior center Natalie Kelly was ruled immediately eligible for competition, SLU head coach Ayla Guzzardo announced on Thursday.

Kelly, a 6-3 center from Albany, Louisiana, was initially expected to sit out a season after transferring from Auburn. However, the NCAA granted a waiver that will allow Kelly to suit up for the Nov. 25 opener versus Alcorn State. The addition of Kelly to this year’s active roster will bolster SLU’s performance on and off the court, according to Guzzardo.

“We’re so excited for Natalie to have the opportunity to play for us immediately,” Guzzardo commented. “She’s not a tradition back-to-the-basket post player, but she can get to the basket and has a good midrange game. Defensively, her ability to block shots is going to make her an immediate impact player for us.”

Kelly has fit in immediately with her new team. Last month, Kelly was selected by her teammates and her coaches as one of the Lady Lions’ three team captains.

“We recruited Natalie out of high school and we were impressed then with the quality of her character,” Guzzardo commented. “She’s come right in and bought in to all aspects of our program. We’ll benefit from Natalie’s leadership and maturity just as much as we will from her basketball skills.”

Kelly spent her first two collegiate seasons at Auburn, where she played in 28 games for the Lady Tigers. At Albany High School, she was a multi-time all-state, all-district, all-metro and All-Livingston Parish selection on the way to setting the career rebounding record for the Lady Hornets. Kelly averaged 17.1 points, 12.2 rebounds and 3.3 steals per game as a senior at AHS, following a junior campaign that saw her grab a single-season school record 379 rebounds and help her team to the Class 3A state championship game.

Kelly and the Lady Lions will open the 2020-21 season at home next Wednesday, hosting Alcorn State at 1 p.m. in the University Center. The game will air on ESPN+ and can also be heard in the Hammond area on KSLU-FM (90.9), online at LionSports.net/listenlive and via the Lions Gameday Experience app.

Kelly and fellow junior newcomer Chrissy Brown will be Wednesday’s Spotlight Players of the Game. The first 100 fans will receive trading cards featuring Kelly and Brown, courtesy of PRIDE.

TICKETS
For ticket information, please contact the Southeastern Athletics Ticket Office at (985) 549-5466 or visit www.LionSports.net/tickets. Southeastern is implementing mobile ticketing as the primary source for securing tickets for the 2020-21 season. All tickets will be available via e-mail in a PDF format for fans to download on their phone or print at home. Tickets can also be downloaded to Apple Wallet.

SOCIAL MEDIA
For more information on Southeastern Women’s Basketball, follow @LionUpWBB on Twitter, like /SoutheasternWBB on Facebook and subscribe to the SLUathletics YouTube channel.

CLEAR BAG POLICY
Southeastern Athletics has instituted a clear bag policy for all ticketed events, effective with the start of football season. For more information on the clear bag policy, visit www.LionSports.net/clear.

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