NYU Tandon student helps the Violets make it to a historic Elite Eight appearance

female student running with basket ball on the court

Undergraduate Natalie Bruns playing on New York University's women's basketball team

Basketball players are used to hearing that old joke about standing out in a crowd, but her height is far from the only thing that makes Natalie Bruns a stand-out: with most of her teammates attending the College of Arts and Science or Steinhardt, Bruns is currently the only player on New York University's women's basketball team to attend NYU Tandon.

Natalie Bruns in her basketball jerseyShe recently helped the team push past the University of Scranton, 73-54, to land in the Elite Eight during the 2022 NCAA Division III Championship. That victory — which was made possible when Bruns shot a layup that gave the Violets a lead they held throughout the second half–marked the team’s sixth-ever Elite Eight appearance (its first since 2007) and the best field-goal percentage in program history.

Bruns — a sophomore who is majoring in Technology Management & Innovation and minoring in Integrated Design & Media — finished the game with 14 points (4-of-8 FG), her second straight 14-point output, along with seven boards, three steals, two blocks, and an assist.

While Bruns played throughout high school, being a Violet has introduced her to an entirely new team culture and spirit. “As college students, most of us are living independently for the first time, so your teammates become an even bigger part of your life,” she explains. “In addition to cheering for one another on game days, we provide encouragement, emotional support, and a social network off the court too.”  

Teams at Division III schools like NYU compete at a high level without sports overshadowing academics, and athletes must also be top-notch scholars. That can be especially challenging in the case of Tandon students given both the rigor of a STEM-based curriculum and the need to travel frequently to Washington Square for practices. 

Still, Bruns, who plays in the number-four spot, would not change a thing about her experience. “I knew in my gut that NYU was the right place for me,” she says, “and the level of commitment I see in my fellow athletes at the School of Engineering is awe-inspiring.”