DeLand, Fla. - The Stetson women's basketball team (12-11, 8-6 Atlantic Sun) fended off a strong second half charge from visiting USC Upstate (12-11, 8-6 A-Sun) to claim an 80-76 A-Sun victory at the Edmunds Center on Monday. Freshman forward Sasha Sims (Fayetteville, Ga.) drilled three free throws with Stetson down two and 15.6 seconds left to give the Hatters the victory. Sophomore guard Victoria McGowan (Inkster, Mich.) scored a career-high 26 points to go with seven rebounds, six assists and four steals.
Stetson led by as many as 12 points with 13:24 left in regulation, but the Spartans charged back with a 9-0 run to cut the Hatter lead to 54-51 with 10:29 to go. Six of those nine points were scored from the free throw line; USC Upstate would knock down 24 of 26 free throw attempts in the contest (.923).
When senior guard Tierra Brown (Orlando, Fla.) went to the bench with her fourth foul at the 11:50 mark having scored 17 points, McGowan took over the load for her backcourt partner, slashing to the basket time and again as Stetson extended its lead back to nine points with less than six minutes left. Again the visitors would not go down quietly, fighting back to tie the game on a Kyana Jacobs steal and layup with 1:40 to play.
Sophomore forward Janelle Mills (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) hit two free throws with 40 seconds left to put Stetson back ahead 75-73, but on the ensuing possession, Spartans forward Chelsea McMillan, the preseason A-Sun Player of the Year, converted a three-point play with 30 seconds on the clock to give USC Upstate its first and only lead of the second half. McGowan then brought the ball up the court and dished to Sims in the left corner, who was fouled by McMillan with 15.6 seconds left while hoisting up a three-pointer. McMillan fouled out on the play and Sims made the Spartans pay dearly by swishing all three attempts to give the Hatters a 78-76 lead.
A last ditch hook shot on the other end was off the mark; McGowan sealed the win with two more free throws. Stetson made 14 consecutive free throws in the last 10 minutes and change; the Hatters were 24-28 overall at the line (.857).
McGowan was 10 of 18 from the floor, 2-2 from distance and 4-5 from the charity stripe en route to her career scoring high, one more than she scored at Miami (Ohio) on November 20. Brown ended with 19 points, tying Janene Maclin '07 for 13th place on the Stetson all-time scoring list (1,087 points). Sims finished with 15 points, six rebounds and three steals on perfect 7-7 free throw shooting. Mills scored eight points, one shy of her career high, and recorded a career-high five blocked shots.
McMillan led USC Upstate with 28 points and 11 rebounds while Sharneice Wadelington had 18 points as well. Tee'Ara Copney joined them in double figures with 10 points; Lauren McRoberts contributed nine rebounds and five assists.
Stetson heads north up I-75 to face Kennesaw State at 5:30 p.m. Saturday before visiting Mercer at 7 p.m. Monday in the A-Sun Game of the Week on CSS Sports. Check local listings to find the game in your area. The Stetson-KSU A-Sun.TV broadcast will be simulcast on Hatter Vision; a Live Stats link will also be available at GoHatters.com.
STETSON SOCIAL MEDIA
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