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Junior Victoria McGowan led the Hatters with 15 points Thursday at FIU.
Cold-Shooting Hatters Fall to FIU in WNIT
Courtesy: Stetson University  
Release:  03/15/2012
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Miami – Going into Thursday night’s WNIT first round game at FIU, Stetson coach Lynn Bria knew her team would have to shoot the ball well and win the battle on the boards to defeat the Panthers.

The Hatters came up short on both goals in a 75-47 loss that ended Stetson’s season. The Hatters finish the year with a school record 23 wins against 11 losses. FIU (23-10) moves on to face South Florida in the second round of the tournament on Saturday.

Stetson was never quite able to get on track offensively, shooting just 26.3 from the field. FIU had no such problem, playing on the Panthers’ home court at U.S. Century Bank Arena. The Panthers started hot, and never cooled, shooting 48.6 percent for the game.

“I thought their post kids just absolutely killed us,” Bria said. “We knew what (Jerica) Coley could do, and she scored her points, but she is not the one who killed us. Their post kids did a great job of getting position, scoring and rebounding.

“At times, defensively, we looked good, but we didn’t score when we had chances for easy baskets. You have to be able to score, and we went on droughts where we had good shots at easy baskets, and we did not put them in.”

While the Hatters struggled to find their offensive stroke, the Panthers dominated on the boards, especially in the second half. FIU finished with a 47-32 advantage on the glass, an area Coach Bria pointed out as critical in the game.

“They killed us in the paint,” Bria said. “They are the kind of team that will work the ball until the get what they want. They are a very physical team and they have some balance, but their rebounding killed us.”

The Hatters struggled early from the field, hitting just two of their first 10 shots to open the game. The poor shooting put Stetson at an early deficit, but tough defense and solid work on the boards kept the Hatters close.

After seeing the FIU lead grow to 10 points late in the half, the Hatters closed strong, scoring 10 points in the final 3:30 of the period. FIU was equal to the challenge, however, and took a 33-25 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The second half was all FIU as the Panthers quickly pushed their lead into double figures and continue to expand their advantage the rest of the way, leading by as many as 32 late in the game.

Stetson was led offensively by McGowan, who finished with 15 points. Sophomore Sasha Sims was the only other Hatter in double figures, finishing with 13.

Coley led all scorers with 21 points while the Panthers placed three others in double figures.

“We have to get a lot better,” Bria said. “We can’t just rely on Victoria to score all our points, we need some other people to step up and put the ball in the basket for us. Teams make it hard on her, and we have to be able to knock down some shots.”

Stetson Women's Basketball