Defending Champion Hatters Deny Spartans, 72-59

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

MACON, Ga. - The Stetson Hatters, defending Atlantic Sun Women's Basketball Champions, broke away at the end of the first half to defeat the seven-seeded Spartans, 72-59 and advance to the 2012 General Shale Brick Women's Basketball Championship semifinals.

Throughout much of the first half, the Hatters and Spartans flip-flopped the lead. It wasn't until the very end of the first half that Stetson began to break away. The Hatters went ended the half on a 15-1 run to lead the Spartans, 34-27, at the break. Sasha Sims led the Hatters with a game-high 14 first-half points.

Stetson held its lead throughout the second half never allowing USC Upstate to get within 11 points. Stetson's largest margin was a 17-point lead, 54-37. The Hatters' Cherisse Burris grabbed her third double-double of the season with 12 points and 12 rebounds. 2012 A-Sun Player of the Year, Victoria McGowan tacked on 15 points and nine rebounds.

Read the Atlantic Sun Insider Column: Hatters Rebound Way to Victory

Leading USC Upstate was Paulina Zaveckaite, who garnered her sixth double-double, scoring 14 points and pulling in 12 rebounds. First Team All-Conference member Tee'Ara Copney posted 10 points and seven rebounds

Stetson advances to face the winner of Thursday's contest between No. 3 Belmont vs. No. 6 Jacksonville. The Hatters will tip at 2:30 p.m. ET on Friday against the Bruins/Dolphins winner.

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The Atlantic Sun Conference is an NCAA Division I league with 10 member institutions committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun meets the challenge of maintaining the highest standards in academic and athletic achievement with a true balance between student and athlete. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.