Prior to last season and going all the way back to the re-launch of the Stetson women’s basketball program in 1975-76, the Hatters’ longest winning streak in school history was seven games, set back in the 2000-01 season.
Last season Stetson broke that mark, winning 10 games in a row from Dec. 8 through Jan. 12. This year the Hatters have once again equaled that winning streak and have a chance to establish a new record Monday night against Northern Kentucky.
“It’s outstanding for our program, I think it’s great,” Stetson head coach Lynn Bria said about the two separate streaks. “I think it’s great for people to know and see that this program has come a long way. It’s really a lot of credit to our players and the commitment of our administration. They have decided to really get behind this, and it is a credit to them.”
Stetson Athletic Director Jeff Altier was excited to see the Hatters win 10 straight again.
"With two consecutive years with 10-game winning streaks, is sort of sets the stage for where our women's basketball program is right now." Altier said. "What coach Bria has done and the quality of young ladies that she has brought into the program has established a consistent level of performance that is at the top of the conference."
This year’s streak began on Dec. 15 at Florida Atlantic. Stetson had been winless on the road prior to its 78-66 victory over the Owls and afterwards the team’s confidence started to take off.
Stetson’s next three wins over Georgia Southern, UNC Asheville, and Mercer came by a combined 91 points. However, Kennesaw State threatened to pull off a conference upset on Jan. 2 as the Owls led by 12 points with less than 11 minutes to play. Stetson’s zone defense virtually shut down Kennesaw’s offense the rest of the way and McGowan’s 33 point-performance helped the Hatters escape with a five-point win.
After outlasting UNF, Jacksonville, and USC Upstate to run the streak to eight, Stetson won its first-ever game at the mini-dome in Johnson City under some unusual conditions. The dome’s roof had sprung a light leak after a day of rain and game-day staff had to hold a mop on the floor throughout the contest to keep the court dry.
“I have never had a situation like that and never seen anything like that,” Bria said after the game. “I'm glad we went ahead and played the game and worked it out.”
Following Saturday’s 92-51 win over Lipscomb, the win streak is once again at 10. With a new record within reach, the Hatters know they need to stay focused on the opponent and not the record.
"You just play a game at a time, and if it happens, it happens," Bria said. "If you start focusing on those things then you really lose what's in front of you, and it's so important to stay focused on what's in front of you."