Macon, Ga. - Junior guard Victoria McGowan (Inkster, Mich.) recorded her NCAA-leading third triple-double of the season, posting 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the second-seeded Stetson women's basketball team (23-9) to a 67-60 win over sixth-seeded Jacksonville (11-20) in the semifinals of the General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Conference Championships Friday afternoon at Mercer's University Center.
The Hatters not only set a school record for wins today, surpassing the 22 wins from the 2000-01 season, but assured themselves of a postseason berth. A win tomorrow over top-seeded FGCU would send Stetson to the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row; the alternative would see the Hatters take the A-Sun's automatic bid to the Women's National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) and compete in that event for the first time in program history.
McGowan had eight points, seven assists and two rebounds in the first half, which saw the Hatters lead by as many as 14 before going into the locker room up 37-28. She hit a three-pointer with 35 seconds left and the shot clock winding down to ensure that margin at the break.
Stetson never trailed, but had to fight off a resilient Dolphins squad several times down the stretch to earn the victory. Jacksonville tied the score twice in the second half, the last time on an Abril Peeples bucket with 7:02 to go, but the Hatters never allowed JU to go ahead. McGowan scored eight of Stetson's last 12 points, including the final go-ahead three-pointer with 6:23 to go, and collected several key rebounds in the final minutes to end Jacksonville possessions and put away the six-point victory. She notched 13 points and eight rebounds in the second half alone.
Freshman forward Cherisse Burris (Blue Springs, Mo.) scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds while sophomore forward Sasha Sims (Fayetteville, Ga.) also supplemented their efforts with an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double. McGowan is now very close to the 1,000 point mark for her Stetson career, reaching 991 after today's game and reaching third place (531 points) on the program's single-season scoring list as well.
McGowan reached triple-double status for the third time this season and the second time in as many games at the University Center. She had a career-high 29 points with 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a January 4 win over Mercer.
Tracie Sneed led Jacksonville with 14 points and eight rebounds while Peeples chipped in 12 points for the Dolphins. Stetson has now won four straight against its in-state rivals, including wins in each of the last two A-Sun tournaments.
The Hatters attempt to defend their A-Sun title at 12:00 pm tomorrow against FGCU; the game will be broadcast live regionally on CSS and webcast for free at ASun.TV. Live Stats will be linked at GoHatters.com.
FACEBOOK - Stetson Athletics (facebook.com/stetsonhatters); TWITTER - @StetsonSID (twitter.com/stetsonsid)