Stetson got its best defensive effort of the season on Tuesday, and the Hatters needed every bit of it in a tightly contested 66-52 victory over Bethune-Cookman at the Edmunds Center.
Victoria McGowan scored 27 points, including 13 in a row during a key second half run, as Stetson (2-3) extended its home win streak to six. Jama Sharp added 13 points and five assists.
“I felt like it was a great defensive game and both teams played really hard,” Stetson head coach Lynn Bria said. “Bethune-Cookman is a great rebounding team, but we turned them over a little bit, and that helped counteract their rebounding.”
Despite leading wire-to-wire, the Hatters had to hold off numerous runs from the Lady Wildcats (2-2). Stetson led by as many as 14 in the first half and 10 in the second half, but B-CU rallied to within three when McGowan drew a key charge on the defensive end.
“I think that might have been my first charge,” McGowan quipped. “I was just trying to help the team out and pick it up defensively. I think this win helps build our confidence back after losing to Florida State. We just wanted to come out and play hard.”
Moments later Sharp started a 7-0 run with a field goal, then McGowan followed with a steal, a three-pointer, another steal, and a fastbreak lay-up to put Stetson ahead by nine. She added to her 13-point run with a pair of free throws and two more three-pointers to help Stetson pull away.
“She just decided to put the team on her shoulders, but that’s what great players do,” Bria said. “She wasn’t playing bad up until that point, she just wasn’t making her shots. But that run opened up the game for us and gave us a bit of a cushion.”
Stetson shot 44% from the field and 47% from behind the arc. The Hatters hit eight three pointers for the third time this season.
Chastity Rene Taylor led the Lady Wildcats 14 points. B-CU shot 37 percent for the game.
Stetson continues its three-game homestand on Sunday afternoon as the Hatters will host the Ball State Cardinals. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.
Notes: Victoria McGowan also scored 27 points against Bethune-Cookman in last year’s win in Daytona Beach … The Hatters have won seven out of the last nine meetings with B-CU ... Shanasa Sanders gently banked one of the glass at the halftime buzzer to give Stetson a 31-25 lead at the break … It was Sanders’ 100th career collegiate game, 39th with Stetson … The game featured 10 held balls … B-CU’s 52 points was the lowest output for a Hatter opponent this season.