While putting the ball in the hoop and scoring points is the most important thing a basketball player can do, pulling down a missed shot follows close behind.
Stetson University junior Cherisse Burris knows that well, and she has been racking up rebounds on a both ends of the court since she first put on a Hatter uniform. Burris has amassed 430 rebounds in just two-and-a-half seasons including a team-high 108 so far this year.
"Whatever I can do for the team, if I am not scoring then I want to rebound," Burris said. "Defensive rebounding is (especially) important for us because when we get a defensive rebound, we can get on offense."
Burris and her teammates will look to crash the boards this weekend as the Hatters (8-5, 0-1 A-Sun) host USC Upstate and ETSU in a two-game conference homestand at the Edmunds Center. Thursday's tip-off against the Spartans (6-7, 1-1) is scheduled for 6 p.m., while Saturday's contest vs. the Buccaneers (5-8, 1-1) will start at 1 p.m.
A 5-10 post player, Burris has been a model of consistency during her career. She has played in all 80 games since the start of her freshman year, and has picked up at least one board in every single contest.
"She just has a knack for the ball," Stetson assistant coach Pam Brown said. "She is really intent on going to pursue the ball and not letting the ball come to her. You look at her and you don't think she can jump that high, but she really has one of the higher verticals on the team."
This season Burris has nearly doubled her rebounding statistics as she is averaging 8.3 boards per game, which ranks fifth among all Atlantic Sun players. She is also averaging 9.7 rebounds per contest over the past seven games.
"She is real good with her positioning and reading when the ball is coming off the rim, whether it's a long shot or short shot, just pursuing it and going to get it," Brown said.
The Hatters have also had success on the boards as a team as they lead the league with a 43.2 rebounding average. Burris says the team uses competitions in practice to help improve their skills and sharpen their focus.
"We play rebounding wars, where if you don't box out, you have to run sprints after practice."
Tickets for the games this weekend start at $5 and can be purchased online at GoHatters.com/tix or at the Edmunds Center ticket office. Stetson students, faculty, and staff are free with a valid ID.
Live video for both games will be available on HatterVision, while WSBB will carry the audio broadcast of Saturday's game only on AM1230 New Smyrna Beach, AM1490 DeLand, and online at myam1230.com. Live stats, the @StetsonWBB twitter feed, and Hat-Alerts will provide in-game updates as well.