|Women's Basketball Begins Quest For A-Sun Title|
Several of the Stetson women's basketball players have experienced both the highs and lows that postseason play can offer.
Six Hatters still remain from the 2011 squad that captured the Atlantic Sun Championship in dramatic fashion, and 10 current players experienced last year's run to the title game that ended in disappointment.
"We feel like we have some unfinished business," senior Shanasa Sanders said. "Last year we came up short and this year we don't want to leave without the championship. That is our main goal."
Second-seeded Stetson (21-8) will begin its quest for a second title in three years at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening against seventh-seeded ETSU (8-17) in the quarterfinals of the General Shale Atlantic Sun Conference Championship in Macon, Ga. The game can be seen on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN App on mobile devices.
"I think we had a chance to learn from both experiences, both winning and losing," junior Sasha Sims said. "Being on each end of the stick allows us to come in this year with an open mind and a readiness to play hard."
The Hatters produced one of their finest regular-seasons in school history, posting their third-straight 20-win season, a record 14 conference wins, and an all-time best 11-game winning streak during the season.
Stetson head coach Lynn Bria expects her squad will benefit from having deep runs in each of the past two conference tournaments.
"We have done it before," Bria said. "We have a veteran group, so that's encouraging. They know how to win, but it is a new season. Anything can happen and anyone can win."
While the Hatters are hoping for another run that gets the team to championship Saturday, Stetson must first focus on its quarterfinals match-up with ETSU. The Hatters swept the season series from the Lady Bucs, winning by 16 points in Johnson City in January and nine points in DeLand in February.
"It's not the just the next game on the schedule, it's the only game," Bria said. "I told the players we are 0-0 now and starting the third season. In March, no matter how long you play, you are only guaranteed one game. It really narrows your focus. It's difficult to win, it's difficult to advance. You have to execute on every play to be successful."
If the Hatters advance to the semifinals, they will have a day of rest before facing the Jacksonville-Mercer winner on Friday at 2:30 p.m.
The championship game will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.
"Clearly we have something to prove," senior Victoria McGowan said. "Everybody better be ready for us. We are just taking it one game at a time, and right now we are preparing for ETSU. We are all anxious to get started."
In addition to the ESPN3 broadcast, Wednesday's game can be heard live on WSBB, 1490 AM DeLand, 1230 AM New Smyrna Beach, and on the web at www.myam1230.com. Live stats, the Stetson women's basketball twitter feed, and Hat-Alerts text messages are also available for in-game updates.
ESPN3 and WatchESPN is available to fans who receive ESPN's linear networks as part of their video subscription from Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Verizon FiOS TV, Comcast Xfinity TV or Midcontinent Communications, Cablevision or Cox Communications. The app is available free to download for Android devices from the Google Play store and Amazon Appstore and for Apple devices from the App Store, as well as online via WatchESPN.com.
WSBB Radio will cover all Stetson women's and men's games during the tournament.
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