|Stetson Wins Eighth Straight 84-66 vs. USC Upstate|
Behind a 52-point second-half scoring outburst, Stetson won its eighth straight game 84-66 over host USC Upstate in an Atlantic Sun Conference contest Saturday afternoon at the G. B. Hodge Center.
After leading by just three at halftime, the Hatters (12-4, 5-0 A-Sun) shot 62 percent (18-for-29) from the floor in the second half to remain undefeated in the A-Sun.
USC Upstate fell to 5-10, 1-3.
Jama Sharp led five Hatters in double figures with 17 points, 12 of those coming after the break. She also recorded a career-high eight steals to go along with five rebounds and three assists.
Cherrisse Burris scored 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting while grabbing a team-high eight rebounds. Victoria McGowan (15 points), Sasha Sims (13 points), and Shanasa Sanders (11 points) also reached double digits for the Hatters.
“I thought Jama had a great game, especially defensively for us,” Stetson head coach Lynn Bria said. “But we had a lot of players in double figures and it was just a great team effort.”
After Stetson led 10-0 just four-and-a-half minutes into the game, USC Upstate chipped away until finally moving ahead 22-21 with 6:48 to play in the first half. A late surge by the Hatters gave Stetson a narrow 32-29 halftime lead.
“In the first half I thought our offense was stagnant,” Bria said. “We weren’t moving the ball and we weren’t working together offensively.”
Sharp got the Hatters going early in the second half, hitting a lay-up and a three-pointer to put Stetson ahead by six. The Hatters led by seven when a steal by Sharp led to a fastbreak lay-up for Burris which started a lengthy 24-6 run. In fact Stetson made nine shots in a row during one stretch to extend the lead to 67-42 at the 10 minute mark.
“In the second half we pressed them a little more, I thought that would get us more aggressive and it worked,” Bria said. “We got our heads together after the first half and responded really well.”
Sharp picked up four steals during that explosive run.
“I just stayed back, my teammates were applying a lot of pressure,” Sharp said. “When they passed ahead, I just tried to be quick and get the steal.”
Stetson would lead by as many as 26 before closing out the 18-point victory.
“It starts with our defense, I thought our full court press bothered them, and I felt like we did a better job of guarding them in the half court set,” Bria said. “We did a really good job of defending their penetration. We were much more aggressive in the second half on both ends of the floor.”
Brittany Clency had 14 points to lead the Spartans.
The Hatters will continue their two-game road trip on Monday at ETSU. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on HatterVision and ASun.TV.
Notes: Stetson began the day with the 10th-longest active winning streak in the nation. The school record for consecutive wins is 10 set last year … The game was broadcast on ESPN3. The Hatters will appear on ESPN3 again next Saturday against Lipscomb … Ashley Dennis became the 27th player in school history to play in 100 career games with the Hatters … Shanasa Sanders, Cherisse Burris, and Jama Sharp each played their 50th career games with the Hatters Saturday … Stetson won for just the second time in five appearances at the Hodge Center … Sasha Sims had one block and is six blocks away from 100 in her career ... The last Hatter with eight steals in a game was Victoria McGowan with eight against Ball State last year (12/4/11).
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