Stetson’s freshmen duo of Amber Porter and Brianti Saunders combined for 40 points as the Hatters defeated host Jacksonville 85-62 Saturday afternoon at Swisher Gym.
The Hatters improved to 22-5 on the season, 14-1 in the Atlantic Sun, and they extended their school-record winning streak to 14 games in a row.
“I thought in the first half we played very well on both ends,” Stetson head coach Lynn Bria said. “Offensively and defensively we were executing. I thought we started the second half very well, then (Jacksonville) cranked up their pressure and it bothered us. We just had too many turnovers. We have to keep our heads and take care of the basketball better when teams decide to do that.”
Porter scored 11 of her game-high 22 points in the first six minutes of the contest to help boost the Hatters to an early 10-point lead. Stetson’s defense held the Dolphins to just seven field goals in the first 20 minutes as the Hatters led 42-22 at the break.
“I thought our defense was outstanding in the first half. We got (JU) to shoot a tough percentage and then we rebounded the ball really well, and that was something from our last game we didn’t do so well. I thought our rebounding was better today.”
Stetson scored the first seven points of the second half and led by as many as 31 before Jacksonville’s pressure defense forced some turnovers which led to transition baskets.
“It was probably about a 10 minute stretch where it really hurt us, but I felt like we regrouped, we got used to it, and we started attacking better,” Bria said. “I think we have to respond faster; it can’t take us so long to finally figure it out.”
Saunders, a native of nearby Hilliard, Fla., enjoyed playing in front of a large contingent of friends and family. She finished with 18 points for the second straight game and went 8-for-8 from the free throw line.
“Amber had some real high-level moves in the paint, and then ‘Brea’ got it going on both ends,” Bria said. “I thought Brea was very aggressive for most of the game.”
Cherisse Burris (15 points), Myeisha Hall (12 points), and Jama Sharp (10 points) also scored in double figures for Stetson, which extended its road winning streak to eight.
The Hatters had four blocks in the game, including three by Porter, to bring their season total to 131. That mark breaks the school record for blocks in a season, which was set last year with 129.
Stetson will play its final three regular season games at home, beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday night against Northern Kentucky.
Notes: Stetson hit 35 free throws, a season-high and tied for the third highest single-game total in school history ... Stetson’s 14-game winning streak overall and eight game road winning streak each rank as the fifth-longest active streaks in the NCAA ... Amber Porter raised her season blocks total to 94.