Sophomore Cherisse Burris scored a career-high 18 points on 9-of-12 shooting as the Stetson women’s basketball team defeated UNC Asheville 74-47 Wednesday afternoon at the Hatter Classic.
The Hatters (7-4) completed a two-game sweep in the tournament and extended their home win streak to 10.
Victoria McGowan earned Hatter Classic Most Valuable Player honors after scoring 32 points over the two games. She scored 17 points and added six assists and five rebounds on Wednesday. Burris was also named to the all-tournament team for the Hatters.
Shanasa Sanders contributed to the winning effort with 10 points and eight rebounds. Sasha Sims added nine points, four assists, and a season-high four blocks.
Stetson got off to a hot start from behind the arc, connecting on five three-pointers in the first eight minutes to take a 25-10 lead. McGowan and Sanders each connected on two trifectas during that stretch.
UNC Asheville (2-10) was able to close the gap to 10 at the 10-minute mark, but the Hatters finished the period strong and enjoyed a 44-23 halftime lead.
Stetson continued to extend its advantage in the second half, grabbing its largest lead at 31 when freshman Sydni Payne knocked down her first career basket with 1:12 left in the game. The Bulldogs scored the final four points of the contest denying the Hatters their second straight 30-point win.
“I thought defensively in the first half we were pretty good, but in the second half I don’t think our effort was very good as far as rebounding the basketball,” Stetson head coach Lynn Bria said. “I just felt like we lost some intensity in the second half.”
The Hatters held a 23-14 edge in rebounding in halftime, but the Bulldogs erased that deficit in the second half and the teams finished tied with 35 rebounds apiece.
“Rebounding has been a big key for us,” Bria said. “We’ve worked on it and worked on it so we can continue to try and get better. But today I thought we gave them entirely too many offensive boards.”
The game was Stetson’s last contest before the start of Atlantic Sun Conference play on Dec. 31 at Mercer. The Hatters have won six of their last seven games and are undefeated at home on the season (6-0).
“My concerns are where we are defensively,” Bria said about the non-conference season. “We’ve made progress, but we’ve got to get better. Overall we just have to do a better job of shutting people down and giving them one shot, and we are just not there yet. We are better, and I am encouraged by that, but it’s still not where I want us to be.”
In the second game of the day, Bethune-Cookman defeated Georgia Southern 59-48 to equal Stetson's 2-0 classic record and share team champion honors.
Notes: Stetson has swept the last three Hatter Classics and has been champion or co-champion seven times ... Spanning the last 10:41 of the Georgia Southern game and the first 2:23 of the UNC Asheville game, Stetson’s defense went 13:04 without allowing a field goal (and just one point) … In six home games this year totaling 240 minutes of playing time, Stetson has trailed for just 4:17 … The Hatters shot over 50 percent for the second straight game … Victoria McGowan had 12 assists in the two tournament games and only one turnover ... Stetson won its 50th game in its last three seasons (50-28).
All-Tournament Team: Victoria McGowan-MVP (Stetson), Cherisse Burris (Stetson), Shonese Jones (UNCA), MiMi DuBose (GSU), Terrenisha Hollis (B-CU).