The Edmunds Center came to life Thursday night as over 500 students filled the stands to cheer the Stetson women’s basketball team to its 11th consecutive victory.
“The atmosphere is a lot more intense,” senior forward Sasha Sims said. “When it’s not just us getting hyped, getting excited for ourselves, it makes it more enjoyable.”
Selected as a “white-out” game, students showed their support for the home team by wearing white shirts. One key organization that participated in the event was the fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha.
“We played a role in advertising and sponsoring the women's basketball team for (Thursday night) to try and bring real school spirit to Stetson Athletics,” said fraternity member Bobby Jakubek.
“It's great to give athletes support,” fellow fraternity member Jonathan Strahl added. “For an athlete, it's fun to play in front of a crowd, especially knowing there’s support out in the stands. Nothing is more positive than a community who is behind a program or in this case a tradition.”
This game marked several milestones for the Hatters. While Sims scored her 1500th career point, junior Cherisse Burris recorded her 500th career rebound. Additionally, head coach Lynn Bria entered the game with 99 wins at Stetson.
“We decided to show support at the women's basketball game tonight because we understood that Coach Bria’s 100th win for Stetson was at stake,” Strahl said.
“My highlight of the game was when we got the whole student section to scream ‘Mama Bria’ to help congratulate her 100th win and she gave an excellent response to the crowd” Jakubek said.
The students showed the team their support throughout the game by erupting in cheers, chanting for the defense, waving posters, and dancing during the timeouts.
“The crowd was doing what ever it could to make a statement and throw off the opponent,” Strahl said.
The Hatters, who led throughout the game, appeared to thrive off the crowd’s energy, especially in the second half in which they scored 54 points alone. Stetson ultimately defeated Kennesaw State 87-57.
“Best crowd that we’ve had since I’ve been at Stetson," Bria said. "It was unbelievable. They were energetic and enthusiastic. It just adds to the game, and it makes it a lot more fun for our kids to play.”
The win was Stetson's 12th in a row at home, and the Hatters will go for their 13th straight at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon against Mercer. Stetson (19-5, 11-1) will also be looking for their 20th win of the season and to clinch a home game in the A-Sun tournament quarterfinals.
The game will be Stetson's annual Play4Kay game to raise awareness for cancer research. Fans are encouraged to wear pink.
Tickets start at $5 and can be purchased online at GoHatters.com/tix or at the Edmunds Center box office. Stetson students, faculty, and staff are free with a valid ID.
The game can also be seen live on HatterVision and heard on WSBB myam1230.com. Live stats, the Stetson women's basketball twitter feed, and Hat-Alerts will provide in-game updates as well.