Sasha Sims scored a game-high 22 points and Shanasa Sanders added 16 points and nine rebounds as Stetson defeated visiting Kennesaw State 74-46 in an Atlantic Sun Conference game Thursday night at the Edmunds Center.
With the victory, the Hatters (20-8, 13-4 A-Sun) swept the season series from the Owls (7-22, 3-14) and reached the 20-win plateau for the third consecutive season.
"It's incredible what the players have done," Stetson head coach Lynn Bria said. "It's one thing to win one year, but to sustain it year-after-year is a very difficult thing to do. It's a credit to our players, and it's huge for Stetson University women's basketball."
The win also moved Stetson into a tie for second place with Mercer in the league standings. The Hatters and Bears will meet in the final regular season game of the year at 1 p.m. Saturday to determine which team gets the all-important no. 2 seed for next week's conference tournament.
"It really does help because (as the no. 2 seed) you don't have to play three back-to-back-to-back games (in the conference tournament)," Bria said. "You still have to play three games, but having that day inbetween (the first and second round) really does make a difference, especially if you are fortunate enough to get to Saturday's game."
Stetson dominated the inside game Thursday, owning a 52-16 advantage in the "points in the paint" category. The Hatters also outrebounded Kennesaw State 42-33.
"We are pretty consistent that if we can win the paint, most of the time we have the better chance of winning the game," Bria said. "I thought we did a great job of guarding the paint. Our post defense was very good, and we had a lot of help inside the paint, so it was very effective."
"I like what we did on the boards," Bria added. "We got on the offensive glass very hard and we were very aggressive."
Sims went 9-for-16 from the floor to post her second straight 20-point performance. She scored 16 of her 22 points in the first half. Sanders shot 50% (8-for-16) from the field while Sharp added 11 points and seven rebounds.
"Sasha is playing really well right now, and Shanasa had a great response from last game," Bria said. "Jama actually had a very good game against Gulf Coast so she has put some games together."
The Hatters jumped out to an quick lead and never looked back. Already leading 10-7, Stetson went on an 11-0 run, highlighted by three-point baskets by Sims and Sharp.
Stetson extended its lead to 19 at halftime as Sanders drove the lane for a lay-up just before the buzzer sounded.
In the second half, Victoria McGowan fed Sharp on a back-door pass at 12:53 mark to put Stetson ahead by 24. Sharp returned the favor to McGowan a few minutes later as the lead ballooned to 27.
Stetson led by as many as 34 before finishing the 28-point victory.
McGowan finished the game with eight points and moved into third-place in school history in career points scored. She now has 1463 points, trailing just Kristy Brown (1522) and Michele Michael (1570) in the record books.
Stetson will honor its five seniors - McGowan, Sanders, Ashley Dennis, Janelle Mills, and Ashley Buis before Saturday's contest with the Bears.
Notes: Stetson set the school record for most wins in a four-year span (69) ... Ashley Dennis picked up a charge in the first half and dove after a loose ball late in the second half ... Freshman Sydni Payne played the final five minutes and scored three points ... Stetson has won nine games this year by 20 or more points and eight home games this year by leading wire-to-wire ... Stetson committed just six turnovers (three each half) ... Stetson tied the school record for most conference wins in a single-season (13) ... The Hatters have posted 20+ wins in a season five times in school history.