Johnson City, Tenn. - The Stetson women's basketball team (21-8, 12-5 Atlantic Sun) narrowly came up on the wrong end of a rollercoaster ballgame Thursday afternoon at A-Sun rival ETSU (8-20, 7-10 A-Sun), falling 74-72. Junior guard Victoria McGowan (Inkster, Mich.) led the Hatters with 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Stetson got off to an excellent start, hitting six of its first eight three-pointers and using a 10-0 spurt to go up 41-25 with 2:36 to go, a run culminated by two free throws from junior guard Shanasa Sanders (Jacksonville, Fla.). ETSU soon chopped that lead down to seven before sophomore foward Sasha Sims (Fayetteville, Ga.) hit a bucket in the final minute to give the Hatters a 43-34 lead at the half.
McGowan paced three Hatters in double figures in the first half with 12 points; Sims had 11 and junior guard Ashley Dennis (Bexley, Ohio) scored 11 on the strength of three three-pointers.
The Lady Bucs came out firing in the second half, making their first six shots from the floor. A Natalie Pickwell three-pointer with 14:28 to go gave the home team its first lead since midway through the first half and came as part of a 17-2 Lady Bucs run that left ETSU ahead 64-53 with 8:07 to play.
The Hatters were still down by 11 with five minutes to go when they started a huge charge back, getting three-pointers from McGowan and freshman guard Clarissa Coddington (Davie, Fla.) to climb within striking distance. McGowan made two free throws with 1:36 left after being fouled by Brianna Bogard to give Stetson the lead back at 72-71 and cap off a 12-0 run, but ETSU guard Tarita Gordon made two key buckets in the final 73 seconds to push the Lady Bucs back ahead to stay.
McGowan sank a jumper with 19 seconds left to bring Stetson within 74-72 but that was as close as the Hatters would get before the buzzer sounded.
Dennis tied her career high with 14 points, a scoring mark she set in her first career action November 14, 2009 at Florida. McGowan hit three triples and passed Ashli Jackson '10 to take over fourth place on the Stetson career list with 99 three-pointers; she also climbed to sixth on the Stetson single-season scoring list with 485 points in 2011-12. Sims finished with 18 points and six rebounds.
Gordon led ETSU to the win with 20 points, six rebounds and eight assists; Destiny Mitchell added a 10-point, 14-rebound double-double.
Stetson concludes the regular season at 4:30 pm Saturday at USC Upstate. The Hatters can tie the program single-season wins record as well as secure the #2 seed in the upcoming A-Sun tournament with a victory. Fans can watch that game on ASun.TV with a Hatter Vision simulcast for subscribers; Live Stats are linked at GoHatters.com.
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