DeLand, Fla. - Visiting ETSU (14-9, 11-3 Atlantic Sun), the three-time defending A-Sun tournament champions, held off a determined rally by the Stetson women's basketball team (11-11, 7-7 A-Sun) to claim an 80-62 win over the Hatters in front of 1,174 fans on Kiwanis Club/Boys and Girls Club of Volusia/Flagler Counties Day at the Edmunds Center on Saturday. Senior guard Tierra Brown (Orlando, Fla.) led the Hatters with 14 points.
The Lady Bucs jumped out to leads of 9-0 and 19-4, setting the tone for much of the rest of the game. ETSU would extend its advantage as far as 19 points before halftime and take a 44-28 lead into the locker room.
The game threatened to turn into a rout when East Tennessee State's Gwen Washington hit a basket with 13:16 left that pushed the Lady Buc margin to 21 points, but the Hatters dug in and went on a 15-3 run of their own over the next six minutes. Junior guard Mairead McNally (Belfast, N. Ireland) hit a jumper from just behind the foul line with 6:40 remaining that cut the deficit to 63-54, getting her team within single digits for the first time since the 15:04 mark of the first half.
The Hatters would narrow the gap to eight points with 3:32 left but the Lady Bucs finished the game on a 10-0 run, turning Stetson over three times in succession to end any hope of a comeback. Brown added four assists to her 14 points while senior center Natasha Graboski (Upper Sandusky, Ohio) contributed 10 points, nine rebounds and four blocks. As a team, Stetson had nine blocked shots, tying for the second-highest single-game team total in school history. Sophomore forward Janelle Mills (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) had four rejections of her own to go with seven rebounds.
Five ETSU players reached double figures, led by a 20-point, 11-rebound double-double performance from Destiny Mitchell. Natalie Pickwell (13 points), Tara Davis (12 points, six assists), Latisha Belcher (11 points) and Tosha Austin (10 points) joined Mitchell in double digits.
Stetson is back in action Monday at 7 p.m. when it hosts USC Upstate at the Edmunds Center in A-Sun conference play. Live Stats and Hatter Vision with Bill Topping will be available as always at GoHatters.com, the official online home of Stetson Athletics.