DeLand, Fla. - For the first time since 2004-05 the Stetson women's basketball team (15-11, 11-6 Atlantic Sun) will have a winning regular season campaign, an achievement it clinched Thursday evening with an 81-67 win over visiting Campbell (11-15, 10-7 A-Sun) at the Edmunds Center. Sophomore guard Victoria McGowan (Inkster, Mich.) led four Hatters in double figures with 21 points and six assists; senior center Natasha Graboski (Upper Sandusky, Ohio) notched a 14-point, 12-rebound double-double. Stetson has won four in a row, its longest win streak since 2004-05.
Stetson only trailed once in the ballgame, a 24-second juncture early in the first half; junior guard Mairead McNally (Belfast, N. Ireland) hit a three-pointer with 12:14 to play that gave the Hatters a 13-10 lead they would not relinquish.
Campbell came within one point on a pair of Katelyn Bass free throws with 9:39 to go until halftime, but a Graboski basket on the other end would start a 21-2 Stetson run in the next 4 and a half minutes. McGowan scored 12 of those points. The Lady Camels would never recover from the Hatter scoring explosion that made it 40-20 with 4:24 to go in the first half. Stetson led 51-29 at halftime.
Stetson kept the pressure up early in the second half, taking a game-high 24-point lead on a layup by sophomore forward Janelle Mills (Wesley Chapel, Fla.) with 10:25 remaining. The Hatters still had a 21-point lead with 4:31 left at 80-59 but would be held to just a McNally free throw from then on; the scoring drought would prove irrelevant as Stetson won by 14.
Stetson shot 53.7 percent from the floor (29-54) on the night and blocked 10 Campbell shots, the second-highest single-game total in school history (the record of 13 was set Nov. 26, 2002 at Bethune-Cookman. Graboski had four of those blocks. McGowan made eight of 14 field goal attempts en route to her 21 points while senior guard Tierra Brown (Orlando, Fla.) went six for 12 and finished with 14 points. Freshman forward Sasha Sims (Fayetteville, Ga.) was the final Hatter in double figures, shooting 80 percent (4-5, 2-2 from distance) on the night and tallying 12 points.
Courtney Cannon scored 15 points off the bench to lead Campbell with Jazmine Cooper adding 14 of her own. Tonisha Baker was the high Lady Camel rebounder with seven.
Stetson has assured itself of heading into the A-Sun Tournament with a winning record for the first time since 2004-05; the last time it did so it came home with a championship and a ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
The Hatters visit Atlantic Sun Conference leaders FGCU at 5:15 p.m. Monday. Links to Live Stats will be available at GoHatters.com; Hatter Vision will also carry FGCU's ASun.TV broadcast.
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