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Amber Porter scored a career-high 28 points in the Hatters' 98-75 win at Kennesaw State.
by: David S. Williams
Hot Start Lifts Women's Hoops Past Kennesaw State
Courtesy: Stetson University  
Release:  01/18/2014
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When the spigot is open, the points just seem to keep flowing for the Stetson women’s basketball team.

The Hatters turned on the faucet early and flirted with the century mark in a 98-75 victory over host Kennesaw State Saturday afternoon at the KSU Convocation Center.

Amber Porter scored a career-high 28 points and collected 11 rebounds as Stetson (12-5) improved to 4-1 in the Atlantic Sun Conference and extended its win streak to a season-high four games.

It was the Hatters' sixth time over 90 points this season.

“We put up a lot of points because we have everybody scoring,” junior guard Jama Sharp said. “One day, if someone is off their game we have someone else stepping up. It’s really good when you have five players scoring in double digits. It is really hard to guard.”

The Hatters had five players reach double figures for the ninth time this season. Sasha Sims netted 18 points, Brianti Saunders scored 17 points behind a perfect 7-of-7 shooting performance, and C.J. Coddington and Cherisse Burris added 10 points each.

However, it was Porter that dominated the paint and controlled the boards on both ends of the court.

“I thought Amber Porter was very effective,” Stetson head coach Lynn Bria said. “She was very aggressive today. She posted hard and I thought she handled (Kennesaw’s defense) very well. They were very physical with her.

“The other part with (Amber) is what she does defensively,” Bria added. “She alters shots and does so much for us. I was happy and proud of her that she was able to stay in the game. She has gotten into foul trouble (in the past), and we have had to take her out, and it has hurt us. She played more like a veteran today as far as staying in the game.”

Stetson’s offense was clicking right from the opening tip. The Hatters scored on their first eight possessions and held an 18-0 lead before the Owls (4-13, 2-4) were able to get their first point on the board.

“We got off to a great start, probably the best start we’ve had all year,” Bria said. “That kind of set the tone for the game. I was real proud of our start. We hit some shots. (Brianti) hit one, Sasha was scoring, and Amber was scoring. It was very good for us as far as the offensive end.”

After Kristina Wells hit a three-pointer to get KSU on the board, Stetson kept the pressure on, and back-to-back threes by Sharp and Sims gave Stetson a 28-8 lead at the 12:20 mark of the first half.

“We really wanted to focus on our start because we usually don’t have good starts in the first half or the second half, and because Kennesaw State can be a dangerous team,” Sharp said.

The Owls used the three-ball to stay within shouting distance, cutting Stetson’s lead to 11 late in the first half. Sims answered with four straight points which sent Stetson into the break with a 46-31 advantage.

“We expected that,” Bria said about the Owls’ rally. “They are one of the hardest working teams in the conference. They are relentless, and we knew they wouldn’t lay down and die. You have to play through their runs.”

Stetson shot 65.4% in the second half and led by as many as 29 en route to the 23-point victory. Sharp had four assists in the final 20 minutes, including fastbreak dishes to Saunders and Coddington and a no-look pass under the basket to Burris.

The Hatters shot 56.9% (33-for-58) for the game and outrebounded Kennesaw State 43-38. 

Stetson will return home next weekend to face North Florida at 7 p.m. Thursday night and Jacksonville at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Notes: Sasha Sims broke the school all-time record for blocks. She now has 138 in her career ... It was Porter's fifth double-double this season ... Stetson is now averaging 79.1 points per game ... The Hatters have shot over 50% in three of their last four games ... Adding last year's 21-4 game-ending run at KSU, Stetson outscored KSU 39-4 following Saturday's start ... The 18-0 run was a season-high ... Stetson won its 10th straight vs. Kennesaw State.

Stetson Women's Basketball