Who has the most triple doubles this year in college basketball?
Brittney Griner, Chelsea Gray, Alyssa Thomas or Elizabeth Williams?
Actually, it’s none of the above; it’s Stetson’s diminutive superstar point guard Victoria McGowan with three.
At 5’4”, McGowan is certain to usually always be the shortest person on the floor. But the way she played in Stetson’s victory over Jacksonville, 67-60, she was easily the largest player on the court in the Atlantic Sun semifinal.
“For the smallest player on the court, it’s pretty amazing,” said Stetson head coach Lynn Bria. “It’s her third one, she’s just a special player, [and] she’s playing extremely hard.
“I think it takes a special player to do that and contribute in so many different ways to her team. It’s just been fun to be able to coach and have a front row seat to it.”
And the Atlantic Sun Player of the Year didn’t disappoint as McGowan got Stetson off to a hot start. Whether it was pushing the tempo, creating for her teammates or scoring, she was literally creating havoc at will. Her acceleration off of ball screens seemed to really cause disarray for Jacksonville’s defense. Her complete control of Stetson’s offense helped them establish an early 24-10 lead.
“I just do what I can to help us win,” said the soft spoken McGowan.
But Jacksonville didn’t pull off the upset of Belmont and get to the semifinals by happenstance; they got there by battling. And battling they did as they were able to cut Stetson’s lead down to six before Stetson extended back out to nine, but it was obvious that the second half would be much more competitive.
“I thought we turned the corner, came back in the second half and really fought and made it a really good game in the second half,” said Jacksonville coach Jill Dunn.
As the second half began, there was a different dynamic – Jacksonville picked up their intensity, especially on the defensive end. Their defense was able to disrupt the cohesive flow that Stetson had established in the first half. By the 14:55 mark, the game was tied at 43-43 on a Maggie Wilson three pointer and seemingly everything was going Jacksonville’s way. That’s when McGowan started to assert herself once again sensing that her teammates needed a spark.
The very next play, McGowan created a lay-up for Jazmin Garcia, then she got another assist on a pass to Sasha Sims who got a three point play. To put icing on the cake, McGowan hit a three pointer of her own to extend the lead back up to six.
Mind you this was in a matter of a little less than three minutes.
“If I have to rebound, I rebound; if I have to pass when I’m being double teamed, I pass the ball and look for open people,” said McGowan.
And that mantra that she lives by was the exact reason that Stetson was able to finally pull away for good and give them the much anticipated rematch with their rival, Florida Gulf Coast.
“We take it game by game but like any other team don’t like to get beat,” said Stetson forward Sasha Sims. “We don’t take it lightly, any team that has beaten us; we’ve come back and given them a nice little whooping.”
But the mild mannered McGowan’s eyes perked up in thinking about an opportunity of playing Florida Gulf Coast again.
“I think that motivated us [losing to Florida Gulf Coast] because they beat us twice and we want to get our revenge back,” said McGowan.