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Brianti Saunders drives past the Murray State defenders for two of her 14 points on Friday.
by: David S. Williams
Women's Basketball Rolls Past Murray State 103-72
Courtesy: Stetson University  
Release:  12/20/2013
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Sasha Sims tied a career-high with 28 points and Cherisse Burris added a career-high 24 points as Stetson opened the 2013 Hatter Classic with a convincing 103-72 victory over Murray State Friday afternoon at the Edmunds Center.

The Hatters (7-4) topped the century mark for the second time this season en route to their highest offensive output since 1987.  Stetson owned a 50-34 halftime advantage and led by as many as 38 in the second half.

"We are just a confident team right now," Burris said.  "We are not selfish with the ball.  We pass the ball around and look for the open man.  We like to score for each other, so it is really good that we are all in sync."

Stetson also gave a strong defensive effort, holding Murray State (6-5) to just 33% shooting from the floor.  The Racers connected on 13 of their 40 three-point field goal attempts.

"Murray State is a good team," Stetson head coach Lynn Bria said.  "They shoot the ball well from the arc, so we knew we had to get out and guard them.  I felt like we did a good job of contesting their shots."

Sims went 9-for-15 from the floor, 5-for-8 from three-point range, and 5-for-5 from the line en route to her fifth 20-point game this season.  She has scored 50 points over her last two games combined.

"Sasha has been doing great for us," Burris said.  "She rebounds, she scores, she hits threes when we need them. She is an all-around good player, and we really need her."

Burris had a stellar game herself, shooting 80% from the floor (8-for-10) and 100% from both three-point range (2-for-2) and from the free throw line (6-for-6).  Amber Porter (14 points), Brianti Saunders (14 points), and Jama Sharp (10 points) also scored in double figures. 

"It’s hard to guard," Bria said about the balanced scoring.  "Getting the ball down to Amber creates a lot of openings for the other players.  'CeeCee' was also very effective in the post and on the perimeter, and Sasha is just being very, very aggressive. 

"When we move the ball we are a very good team as far as getting good shots," Bria added.  "We always want to establish the paint. We really want to get the ball inside and when we do that we tend to win more games."

Stetson dominated the paint on Friday, outrebounding Murray State 52-35 and outscoring the Racers 50-16 on the inside.  Porter pulled down a career-high 18 rebounds, 14 of those on the defensive end, for her third double-double of the season.

"Overall, I am very pleased," Bria said.  "Defensively, we did a much better job today.  Obviously we should outrebound them, we were the bigger team.  I thought we did a good job of just making them take tough shots."

Stacia Allen registered her first two collegiate field goals, including a three-pointer at the 1:39 mark that put Stetson over 100 points.  The Hatters also scored 101 points at Florida A&M on Dec. 2, and last scored 103 against Saint Leo on Feb. 23, 1987.

In the second game of the day, Nicholls State defeated Bethune-Cookman 73-56.  The Hatters and Colonels will meet for the Hatter Classic championship Saturday at 1 p.m.

Notes: In four home games this season, the Hatters are averaging 92.3 points per game, and have an average margin of victory of +23.5 ... Stetson has had five players (or more) in double figures six times this season ... Cherisse Burris scored her 700th career point and Jama Sharp recorded career assist no. 200 ... The Hatters set the school record for most wins in a four-year span (74).

Stetson Women's Basketball