Senior guard Shanasa Sanders scored a game-high 18 points including 16 in the second half as the Stetson women’s basketball team defeated Florida Atlantic 78-66 Saturday afternoon at the FAU Arena.
Victoria McGowan scored 17 points and Jama Sharp added 16 points as the Hatters (5-4) picked up their first road win of the year.
“We haven’t won on the road all year, so it was a very good win,” said Sanders, who also collected nine rebounds and played 36 minutes. “The first half I didn’t contribute much to the team, and I know in order for us to win, we need players to step up. So I just tried to get rebounds and do whatever I could to help us get the win.”
Despite a strong offensive effort that saw the Hatters shoot 57 percent from three-point range and 86 percent from the free throw line (18-21), Stetson head coach Lynn Bria was quick to praise the defense after the game.
“I was very proud of our defensive effort, that was probably our best defensive game of the year against a really good team,” Bria said. “Cherisse (Burris) had the assignment of guarding their best player, a post player, and I thought she did a great job.”
After a seesaw first half that featured a nine lead changes, the Hatters used a late 8-0 run to grab 34-27 halftime lead.
Stetson still led by 10 with 9:51 left when McGowan picked up her fourth foul, sending her to bench for the next six minutes. FAU's full court press forced the Hatters into some backcourt turnovers and allowed the Owls (5-5) to cut the lead to five.
“They pressured us very well, and when Victoria went out the pressure got to us for a couple of possessions,” Bria said. “But we were able to regroup and play really strong there at the end.”
Sanders scored nine points over a four minute stretch to help the Hatters maintain the lead, and three-point plays by McGowan and C.J. Coddington in the closing minutes help nail down the victory.
“Both Jama and Shanasa really stepped up and carried us in the second half,” Bria said. “I was also really proud of Simone (Taylor). She just grabs rebounds for us. She is just an energy player and always gives us a spark.”
Taylor, a native of nearby Delray Beach, finished with six points and a season-high nine rebounds while playing in front of a large group of friends and family.
“My parents, my grandparents, old high school teammates, old coaches, they were all here,” Taylor said. “It was exciting to play in front of them since many of them haven’t seen me play college ball before.”
The Hatters shot 46 percent from the floor and outrebounded FAU 44-30. Chenise Miller led the Owls with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Stetson will host the 25th annual Hatter Classic next week at the Edmunds Center. The Hatters will face Georgia Southern at 1 p.m. Tuesday and UNC Asheville at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. Bethune-Cookman will also participate in the Classic. Video broadcasts for both Stetson games will be available for free on HatterVision, while live stats will be available for all four tournament games.
Notes: The Hatters were wearing brand new black jerseys Saturday ... Stetson, which ranked 17th in the nation in free throw percentage, will likely see that improve after going 18-21 from the line (85.7 pct.) ... The Hatters also improved upon their conference-leading field goal and three-point field goal percentages ... Also playing in front of friends and family, C.J. Coddington from nearby Davie, Fla. scored seven points while making her second start of the season.