DeLand, Fla. - A trio of Stetson women's basketball players earned All-Atlantic Sun Conference honors on Monday at the conclusion of one of the most successful regular seasons in program history. Junior guard Victoria McGowan (Inkster, Mich.) was named A-Sun Player of the Year, the first Hatter to win that award since 1990, while sophomore forward Sasha Sims (Fayetteville, Ga.) was selected to the All-Atlantic Sun Second Team and rookie forward Cherisse Burris (Blue Springs, Mo.) was picked for the Atlantic Sun All-Freshman Team.
McGowan averages 16.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.7 steals per game for the Hatters, who at 21-9 overall and 12-6 in A-Sun play have tied the program record for regular season victories and need just one more win to tie the overall school wins record set in 2000-01. She is the only player in NCAA Division I women's basketball to record two triple-doubles this season, putting up 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists with eight steals on December 4 at Ball State and notching 29 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a January 4 win at Mercer. The first First Team All-Conference pick for the Hatters since Nefertiti Walker in 2005-06, she is Stetson's first Player of the Year since Sarah Foley was named New South Women's Athletic Conference MVP in 1989-90. The NSWAC was absorbed into the TAAC (now the A-Sun) the following season along with its records.
McGowan, a four-time A-Sun Player of the Week, has fueled the Stetson engine all season in many different capacities. She leads the Atlantic Sun Conference in assists, ranks second in scoring, steals and free throw percentage (118-135, .874), third in three-point shooting percentage (55-140, .393), ninth in field goal percentage (161-369, .436) and 10th in rebounding. Named the A-Sun's Preseason Player of the Year in October, McGowan has more than lived up to the billing and is on the verge of becoming just the fifth player in Hatters history to score 500 points in a single season. She was a Second Team All-Atlantic Sun honoree in 2010-11 and was the 2011 A-Sun Tournament Most Valuable Player in Stetson's title victory.
Sims followed up an A-Sun All-Freshman Team and A-Sun All-Tournament Team rookie season in 2010-11 with a Second Team All-Conference selection as a sophomore, becoming the first player in program history to earn All-Conference and All-Freshman honors in a career. She averages 11.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game with 39 blocked shots, 33 assists and 30 steals and is sixth in school history for single-season blocks and career blocks (63).
Sims has recorded four double-doubles this season including a career-high 25 points with 10 rebounds in the January 7 double overtime win over Jacksonville. She ranks fifth in the A-Sun in blocked shots, eighth in rebounding and free throw percentage (73-95, .768) and 12th in scoring.
Burris has started all 30 games in Stetson's frontcourt as a freshman, averaging 9.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game with 35 steals, 26 assists and 20 blocked shots. The A-Sun's third-leading freshman scorer, she is fourth in the league in field goal percentage, making 50.9 percent of her shots from the floor (108-212) and 11th in rejections. Burris is the fifth Hatter in program history to be an A-Sun All-Freshman Team honoree and the third in the past five seasons.
Defending A-Sun tournament champion Stetson will enter this week's General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Conference Championships as the #2 seed for the second year in a row and will face seventh-seeded USC Upstate at 6:00 pm Wednesday's at the University Center in Macon, Ga. The game is slated to be broadcast online nationally at ESPN3.com.
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