DeLand, Fla. - The Atlantic Sun Conference champion Stetson women's basketball team (20-12) has learned that it has earned a #16 seed in the NCAA Tournament and will take on #1 seed Tennessee (31-2) at 11 a.m. Saturday in the first round at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
HOW STETSON GOT HERE
Stetson won its third A-Sun tournament title last weekend in Macon, Georgia, entering as the second seed and defeating seventh-seeded Kennesaw State, sixth-seeded Belmont and fifth-seeded Jacksonville to claim its second NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 2005. The semifinal victory over Belmont was marked by sophomore guard Victoria McGowan (Inkster, Mich.) hitting an improbable 55-foot shot at the buzzer to win 48-46; McGowan was named A-Sun Tournament MVP with senior guard Tierra Brown (Orlando, Fla.) and freshman forward Sasha Sims (Fayetteville, Ga.) joining her on the All-Tournament Team.
STETSON NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY
The Hatters will return to Knoxville as a #16 seed - the site of their only other NCAA appearance, a 70-36 loss to #1 seed LSU on March 20, 2005. Senior center Kristy Brown had 17 points and eight rebounds to lead Stetson while junior guard Nefertiti Walker added 13 points.
STETSON vs. TENNESSEE
The Hatters are 0-4 all-time against the eight-time NCAA national champion Lady Volunteers with losses in Knoxville on Dec. 3, 1987, Nov. 26, 1989 and Nov. 20, 2005. Tennessee visited the Edmunds Center on January 9, 1989. Tennessee has been ranked #1 in the nation each time it has met Stetson; the Lady Vols are currently ranked fourth in the AP and USA Today/ESPN Top 25.
STETSON vs. THE NCAA FIELD
Stetson played only one other NCAA Tournament qualifier this season, falling 92-44 at Florida State on December 30, 2010. FSU received a #3 seed and will meet #14 seed Samford in the first round. If the Hatters were to pull off only the second 16-over-1 upset in NCAA women's basketball history, they would take on either #8 seed Marquette or #9 seed Texas on Monday. Stetson is 1-1 all-time vs. Marquette and has never met Texas. The Hatters join Florida State, Miami (Fla.) and UCF as Sunshine State representatives in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
STETSON QUICK FACTS
Head Coach Lynn Bria is the only coach in A-Sun history to take two different conference schools to the NCAA Tournament as she won the 1999 title (then the TAAC) with UCF...the Hatters have won 20 games for the first time since 2000-01 and the third time in the 36-year modern era of Stetson women's basketball...the Hatters have already set a school record by playing 32 games and will play their 33rd against Tennesseee.