Macon, Ga. - Sophomore point guard Victoria McGowan (Inkster, Mich.) nearly recorded a triple double in Monday's 71-62 Stetson women's basketball win at A-Sun rival Mercer, tallying 11 points, a career-high 12 rebounds and seven assists as the Hatters (14-11, 10-6 Atlantic Sun) were able to stave off a 31-point night from league-leading scorer Briana Williams of Mercer (2-23, 2-13 A-Sun).
Stetson dominated the first half as freshman forward Sasha Sims (Fayetteville, Ga.) drained all five of her shots from the floor, going up by as many as 21 points with three minutes left until halftime and walking into the locker room with a 37-21 lead.
The Bears refused to led the Hatters run away, however, rallying from 19 points down with 12:52 left to within two with 5:05 left. Williams spearheaded that 25-8 run, scoring 14 of those points; she would finish as the first Stetson opponent to score 30 points in a game since Gardner-Webb's Sequenta Blackman seven years ago.
Head Coach Lynn Bria called timeout at that point to stop the momentum; the Hatters would respond perfectly by working the ball inside, reeling off the game's next eight points and going back up 69-59 with less than three minutes left to salt the game away.
McGowan scored 10 of her 11 points in the second half, including some big baskets and free throws down the stretch, adding four steals to her career-high 12 rebounds. Senior guard Tierra Brown (Orlando, Fla.) scored a team-high 18 points, continuing her streak of having scored in double figures in all 14 games in 2011. Sims finished with 15 points and four assists. Stetson shot 8-14 (57.1 percent) from three-point land, helped by junior guard Mairead McNally's (Belfast, N. Ireland) 2-2 performance from distance off the bench.
Williams kept Mercer within striking distance nearly singlehandedly, scoring 31 of her team's 62 points (50 percent); no other Bear reached double figures. She also had six rebounds to go along with her excellent array of mid-range jumpers.
Tonight's game was the Atlantic Sun Game of the Week on CSS Sports and Bright House Sports Network and the 60th all-time meeting between the Hatters and the Bears. Stetson extended its series lead to 31-29 and picked up a season sweep of Mercer.
The Hatters return home to host Campbell at 5 p.m. Thursday in the opener of an Edmunds Center doubleheader. The Campbell-Stetson men's game will tip off at approximately 8:15 p.m. Bill Topping and Dee Romine call the action on Hatter Vision; Live Stats are also available at GoHatters.com.