DeLand, Fla. - Senior guard Tierra Brown (Orlando, Fla.) made her inclusion into Stetson women's basketball's 1,000 point club as memorable as possible on Thursday, scoring 13 points (all in the second half) with eight assists to lead the Hatters (9-9, 5-4 Atlantic Sun) to a 70-52 rout of previously undefeated Florida Gulf Coast (14-1, 7-1 A-Sun) at the Edmunds Center. The Eagles were the equivalent of #28 in the WBCA/USA Today coaches poll entering the game.
Stetson used tough on-ball defense to deny the sharp-shooting Eagles more than seven three-pointers on 31 attempts (.226), out-rebounded FGCU 43-24 and made all of its free throws (10-10) and half its three-pointers (8-16) on the evening.
After five ties and four lead changes in the first half, the Hatters took the lead for good on a three-pointer from sophomore guard Victoria McGowan (Inkster, Mich.) with 1:54 left in the first half; a 31-26 halftime Stetson lead was stretched to double digits early in the second half.
Although FGCU cut its deficit to seven points shortly after the first media timeout of the second period, the Hatters then went on an 11-1 run to go up by 17, 50-33, with 11:38 to play. Stetson would not let the Eagles within single digits the rest of the way, scoring the last eight points of the game and holding the visitors scoreless in the final 2:12.
Senior center Natasha Graboski (Upper Sandusky, Ohio) scored 16 points on seven of eight shooting to lead four Hatters in double figures; McGowan (12 points, eight rebounds, four steals, three assists) and freshman forward Sasha Sims (Fayetteville, Ga.) (11 points, nine rebounds) joined Graboski and Brown in double figures. Sophomore forward Janelle Mills (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) had perhaps her finest game in a Stetson uniform, going 4-4 from the floor en route to nine points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
Sarah Hansen scored 16 points for FGCU and was joined in double figures by Kelsey Jacobson (14 points) and Courtney Chihil (11 points, seven rebounds, six assists). The Hatters held the Eagles to a season-low 52 points on 33.3 percent shooting.
Brown came into the game needing just eight points to become the 18th player in program history to score 1,000 in her career but was held scoreless in the first half. She drained a three-pointer 48 seconds into the second half and would reach the magic number with 7:13 to play. A brief ceremony was held at the final media timeout to commemorate the occasion. Brown is the first Hatter to score 1,000 points since Sharnesha Smith '09 reached the milestone two seasons ago.
Stetson, which sits at .500 after New Year's for the first time since 2004-05, plays five of its next seven games on the road, starting with a 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22 tilt at Campbell. Live Stats and Hatter Vision (simulcast of Campbell's Fighting Camel Zone broadcast) will be available at GoHatters.com, the official online home of Stetson Athletics.
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