DeLand, Fla. - Junior guard Victoria McGowan (Inkster, Mich.) recorded 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists to lead the Stetson women's basketball team (17-5, 8-2 Atlantic Sun) to a 73-68 win over visiting Kennesaw State (9-12, 4-6 A-Sun) Thursday evening at the Edmunds Center. Five Hatters scored in double figures for Stetson, which led wire to wire.
Stetson has now won seven straight matchups against Kennesaw State and leads the all-time series 12-3 after a 65-55 win at the KSU Convocation Center on January 2. The Hatters completed a season sweep of the Lady Owls for the third year in a row.
The Hatters came out with strong defensive intensity from the opening tip and using three McGowan three-pointers in the first 5:30 to jump out to an 11-2 advantage. The Hatters never let Kennesaw State closer than six points the rest of the half, going ahead by as many as 13 points on a layup by junior guard Shanasa Sanders (Jacksonville, Fla.) that made it 30-17 with 5:12 to go before halftime.
Sophomore forward Sasha Sims (Fayetteville, Ga.) knocked down a three with 1:10 left in the first period that allowed Stetson to take a 36-25 lead into the locker room. McGowan went 4-4 from three-point land and four for five from the field overall for a game-high 12 points in the first 20 minutes. The Hatters held the Lady Owls to 11-33 (.333) shooting in the first half and forced them into an 0-5 performance from long range.
Kennesaw State refused to go away quietly in the second half, however, chopping an early 13-point deficit down to just one point on a Chelcey Farrar layup with 13:30 to play. Stetson would dig in each time the Lady Owls assaulted their lead, getting key baskets and a few well-timed defensive stops to prevent KSU from gaining control.
Stetson's freshman frontcourt duo of Cherisse Burris (Blue Springs, Mo.) and Jazmin Garcia (Peekskill, N.Y.) stepped up in the second half, scoring 14 of their 21 combined points as the game grew tight. A 7-0 spurt swelled the Hatter lead to 10 points with 8:23 to go, part of a larger 19-6 run that gave Stetson a 69-53 lead at the final media timeout. The Lady Owls still battled to the wire, outscoring Stetson 15-4 in the final four minutes on the strength of three straight three-pointers but ultimately could not catch up before the buzzer sounded.
McGowan shot 50 percent from the floor (6-12) and 66.7 percent (4-6) from distance en route to another stat sheet-filling performance with 16 points, eight boards and eight helpers. Burris, Sims and freshman guard Jama Sharp (Mooresville, Ind.) all finished with 12 points with Sims grabbing eight rebounds and Burris six. Sanders notched 10 points, six rebounds and four assists to join them in double figures.
Point guard Taylor Mills led KSU on the night with 16 points and eight assists. Chelcey Farrar (15 points, nine rebounds) and Ashley Holliday (10 points) also reached double digit scoring; Sametria Gideon tied for the team high with nine rebounds.
The Hatters conclude the month of January and a three-game homestand at 1:00 pm Saturday as they host longtime A-Sun rival Mercer at the Edmunds Center. Live Stats and Hatter Vision will be available at GoHatters.com, the official online home of Stetson Athletics.
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