May 31, 2013 - Uncategorized    Comments Off

Summer, Summer, Summer Time!

For as many rules as the NCAA comes up with throughout the year, restricting this and that, and prohibiting us coaches from recruiting at this time or calling at that time, they finally hit the nail on the head with this one. Summer workouts. Yes, I said it, summer workouts. The NCAA just recently passed a rule that as long as our student-athletes are attending summer school, we are allowed to work them out within an 8 hour limitation per week (2 hours on the basketball floor and the rest designated as you wish, whether it be weights, conditioning, or otherwise). Oh glorious day!

A week after their finals and following some much needed down time our returning and reigning champions came strolling through the Edmunds Center doors with eager anticipation of the workouts that preceded them. With it being the ladies’
first summer where workouts could be “mandatory”, most were in agreement that the opportunity to get better as a unit and as individuals was amongst them. For about three weeks now, the ladies of Stetson women’s basketball have had jam-packed days of strenuous weights and conditioning workouts with our strength coach, Brad Lokey, combined with three 40 minute workouts per week, class on a daily basis where the professors make a semester worth of work into four mere weeks of hustle bustle studying. Like anything else though, our ladies handle it with ease and quite frankly, like champions.

As the first session of summer school classes is quickly coming to a close and the second session is about to begin in just a few short weeks, we will get ready to say “see you soon” to some of our returners and a great big “welcome!” to our incoming freshmen. The Hatters’ will officially have four incoming freshmen on campus for part of the summer and needless to say, “excited” is an understatement around these parts! So long for now, but remember…we may be the 2013 Atlantic Sun Champions, but our work is never done! GO HATS!

May 8, 2013 - Uncategorized    Comments Off

Hey Everybody…Meet Assistant Coach Jenna Burkett!

Sometimes in life we are granted opportunities that are beyond our expectations. Far deeper than one can imagine, exceeding any dream that we could fathom up. I have truly been blessed by my experiences in life thus far, but none could match the opportunity and the chance that Head Coach Lynn Bria has afforded me with this past year at Stetson. The people I have met, the relationships I have fostered, and the foundation I have built personally and professionally, I can honestly say, my first year as a Division I Assistant Coach has been a success.

When I was a little girl, basketball was all I knew. Funny thing is…now that I’m a “big” girl, basketball is still all I know. God allows us to fall in love with things, He allows us to venture out and find what our passion is, no matter who tells us it’s not, no matter who tries to cut us down. He allows you to write your own story, a story that can be beautiful if you let it. God has not only afforded me many opportunities, some that I have had significant growth in, some that have indulged trials, many of which were unplanned. You see, I never wanted to coach. It was never something that I thought about; it was never something when someone asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I answered with an astounding, “I want to be a coach.” All I knew is that I loved the game.

After much reflection, I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. Over the years, not only is it the passion that drives me every day, but it’s more than just my love of the game. The young women that I impact on a daily basis, the opportunities to have an influence on the lives of people whom I once was, is so powerful. You see, I’ve felt success before. As a senior at Robert Morris University, we won our conference championship and went to the NCAA tournament. As a Director of Basketball Operations at James Madison University we played in two championship games, one of which we won and went to the NCAA tournament. This year at Stetson, as an Assistant Coach, we won our conference tournament in a comeback performance that could go down as one of the best in basketball history and attended the NCAA tournament. But I can promise you this. No matter how many rings I get, no matter how much success or trials I have felt and endured, there will be no greater feeling than watching the five seniors graduate this weekend. There will be no greater feeling than a kid thanking you because you’ve humbly done your job. There will be no greater feeling than simply being known as a Hatter.

Apr 18, 2013 - Uncategorized    Comments Off

Here is none other than…Assistant Coach, Nicole Woods!

Assistant Coach and Recruiting Coordinator, Nicole Woods, shares how dreams can come true…

It’s hard to believe I just finished my 2nd season as an Assistant Coach here at Stetson. Around this time two years ago I was praying that God would allow me to finish my senior research project so that I could graduate from Grad School. God answered my prayer and allowed me to make it through my gruesome Public Administration only to find myself unemployed….

In June 2011, I was in Tampa, Florida for a convention when I received a call from Coach Bria. After our conversation, I got in the car and drove 2 hours in a rain storm over to meet. I was offered the job about two weeks later.

Fast forwarding to now, I have experienced the highs and lows of coaching. I learned that everything I do has an effect on our players. I learned it was more important to gain their respect than for them to like me (of course they love me!)

I never thought I would live some in a place in which I would see palm trees on daily route I work. Here I was a young black woman that came from a broken home and troubled childhood that is able to live her dream against all odds.

I never wanted to coach a day in my life. I thought I was a much better player than I would ever be Coach. A part of me still believes that, but what I do believe is that God gave me something to pass on to my players. I had people that helped shape and mold me into be woman I am today. That being said, if nothing else I WILL be a positive example for my players to look up too. Somebody did it for me so the least I can do is be that for them! I love them all more than they will ever know and want to do whatever I can do to help them be successful.

Speaking of success if you did not know WE ARE THE ATLANTIC SUN CHAMPIONS!!! I have never been so proud of a group more in my life than I am this group. Last season we lost in the Conference Championship game and it was such an awful feeling. After  that game our players and staff went to work to make sure we did not have that same feeling this season. We binded together and fought like never before to win the Championship game. I lost 2 championships as a player so this
was my first. It was the bet feeling ever! I was crazy enough to jump in a freezing cold pool in Macon, Georgia after our win. We have five seniors this year. What a way for the All Time winningest class in Stetson Women’s Basketball history to go out!

Last week the seniors picked out our Championship ring. Sitting down with them was perfect. They already knew what they wanted because they were talking about it way back in he Fall. It just goes to show you can reach whatever goals you set for yourself if you all work together towards a common goal.

I can go on and on but I’m going to end with this:

I love being a Hatter and I know God put me here for a reason. You should come see what all the hype is about because every day is a great day to be a Hatter!

Apr 18, 2013 - Uncategorized    Comments Off

Meet Assistant Coach, Pam Brown!

Assistant Coach and longtime friend of Coach Bria, Pam Brown, tells us of her first year experiences at Stetson…

Wow! What a whirlwind of a year it has been! I have officially been on staff for a year now and definitely hit the ground running! Having known Coach Bria and the things she has done at Stetson was a no-brainer when she called me up to come work with her! Being able to join a program that has had great success over the years was a blessing!

I immediately felt right at home here and knew this would be a great place to learn and work. Meeting the players for the first time was like I had known them for many years. They all came up and introduced themselves and I could tell what a great group of ladies they were.

Starting last spring really helped me get the chance to start forming relationships with the girls before August rolled around. I had enjoyed the opportunity to get to know the girls off the court and it gave them a chance to get to know me.

Once school started in August everyone was anxious and ready to get down to business and work for that trip to the NCAA tournament and being Atlantic Sun Champions. We knew we would have a tough non-conference schedule ahead but knew that was only to prepare us for the battle ahead in conference play!

As conference play wrapped up and the conference tournament championship neared, our mission became clear of what we needed to do to be cutting down the nets! After three hard games and with the support of many great fans that we had with us in Macon, for the second time in three years the Hatters were cutting down the nets!

Being able to experience winning a conference championship with this group of ladies was an amazing opportunity. Knowing they have put countless hours in the gym during the off season and throughout the year.

I’m definitely looking forward to getting back to work and welcoming our Incoming freshman this summer to continue on building the Hatter Tradition!

Mar 27, 2013 - Uncategorized    Comments Off

Meet our newest addition…Myeisha Hall!

Old Dominion transfer, Myeisha Hall, tells us how her decision to come to Stetson has been nothing, but positive and fills us in on how eager she is to get back on the hardwood…

My experience this spring semester at Stetson University has been wonderful. My choice of transferring to Stetson has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. I came to Stetson and immediately felt right at home. Compared to my last school I feel Stetson is better for me academically. The class sizes are much smaller, the professors are more hands on and I can really tell the staff genuinely cares for each student.

The team quickly warmed up to me as if I have been here all year. I thought everything would be difficult for me being the “new kid”, but they treated me as an equal. When things got hard for me on and off the court my teammates were there to keep me on track. I’m really happy to be a part of this sisterhood.

This year’s team has accomplished more than what others expected and from the moment I started practicing with the team I’ve seen something special. Appearing in the NCAA tournament was a great experience and a blessing, even though I was not able to play this year due to NCAA rules I still cheered my team on and sent out little group messages to keep them motivated. Even though I could not physically be at the away games I was still there in spirit.

Next year will be a new year with the same goal to go back to the dance. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to repeat as A-Sun champions. I feel that I can bring leadership and heart to the table. The team will be very young but I believe in our team when others don’t because anything is possible. This off-season I plan on working hard on my game. Nothing is hand-given, you must to earn it. I’m just so anxious to get back on the court. I’m counting the days until my return, but all-in-all it feels good to be a Hatter.

Mar 12, 2013 - Uncategorized    Comments Off

Jama Sharp, along with the rest of Hatter Nation, is DANCIN’!!!

Put on your Dancin’ shoes!!!

With the championship game still fresh on my mind, I can’t stop smiling! Just two days ago we won the A-sun tournament! It’s a blessing, and a miracle, not that we won, but the way we won. If you haven’t watched the game, you should! It was a great game; winning just made it that much better. Winning the whole thing was never out of the question for us. Many people may have counted us out after losing in double digits two times to FGCU already during the season, but were they wrong! They were failing to see the team we are and counting us out just made us that much more determined.
Like any team we have had our ups and downs, been through many trials and tribulations, and have still come out on top.  Having experienced a final game last year that left us unsatisfied and wanting more, we knew we weren’t going to leave Macon, GA feeling like that again. I, like others, headed straight for the gym, and our coaches went to work. Heading into this season we knew we did not want to have to feel that way again. Most of all because for our five seniors it would be their last shot at it. We worked harder than we ever have, and ran more than we ever have. Looking back it was all a small price to pay for the joy I feel today.

To say it took just us as a team and the coaches to win would be selfish. It took a lot of people. For starters, Stetson as a whole, for giving all of us a place to further our education and play the game that we love. Winning took our friends, teachers, former coaches, former teammates and fans who are always behind us, who have ever helped us and continue to cheer for us. It took our families who have traveled over the years taking us to tournaments, camps, and now coming to see us play. It took our cheerleaders and band who “always believed in us”. It took our athletic department and the support they gave us. It also, took our wonderful president and Mr. Libby who were at every tournament game, and after we won shared in our celebration dinner. Most of all it took our great God, without Him none of this would have even been possible. We thank you all! We truly appreciate your continued support and share this wonderful victory with you all!

Because of each player and each coach, the hard work, the heart, the focus, and support system we have we earned ourselves a ring! We get a chance to play in the biggest show, and dance on the biggest stage, not many can say the same. It’s what all basketball players dream of doing, I know I sure did. Even though my time here at Stetson and on the court is not over yet, this is something I can always cherish, with a team that I love because WE’RE GOING DANCIN’!

Feb 25, 2013 - Uncategorized    Comments Off

Meet Our Very Own…Cee Cee Burris!

Sophomore Forward, Cherisse Burris, tells all!

Wow! The season is coming to an end already! It feels like it was just yesterday that I was waking up early in the morning for preseason conditioning. People told me that the rest of my years would go by fast after my freshman year of college and I didn’t believe them, but I do now! I thank God every day for giving me the ability to stay healthy and play the game that I love. He’s never steered me wrong and he circled me around a bunch of women that will forever by my sisters. Going to a college so far away from my hometown I needed to feel like it was my home away from home; that’s exactly what I got.

That’s why our goal for our seniors this year is important because we have all worked hard, and together we deserve it. I want to look back after it’s all said and done to be able to say to one another “we did it”. We had a tough loss to FGCU on Saturday at home, snapping our 16-game home court winning streak. It hurts to lose, but it especially hurts to lose at home. We played hard, but hopefully this past Saturday won’t be the last time we play FGCU this year. Luckily, we have two more home games to redeem ourselves and then it is tournament time! Then it’s all or nothing and I plan to give it my all.

In these last few games I have been in kind of a slump. It has been difficult for me because my specialty is finishing around the basket, and the ball just hasn’t been in my favor right now. Since things have not been going the way that I want to offensively and defensively, there’s no doubt that I will be getting in the gym more and watch film of myself. I want to better
myself so that I’m ready and focused like never before to help the team for the remainder of the season. I know what it feels like to come in second, and it’s not just from last year’s loss either. In high school, we went to state three times out of my four years and we ALWAYS came up short. I can’t even express to you how devastating it is to be that close, and then come up short. It just made me realize to never take anything for granted because you never know when that opportunity will ever come again. That’s why I’m determined, for now on, to do whatever it takes for my team. In the end, hopefully the hard work will pay off.

Feb 11, 2013 - Uncategorized    Comments Off

Sophomore guard, CJ Coddington!

CJ Coddington gives us a little insight on her two years at Stetson thus far and just how special tonight’s Breast Cancer Awareness game is to her…

Starting off the second half of conference play with one win and one loss is not the way our team expected it to be.  After losing two in a row in conference to FGCU and UNF we got back on track with a very good win on the road at Jacksonville and at home vs. ETSU.  As a team we’ve realized that we have to take our losses and learn from our mistakes and get better in those areas as a team. No matter what happened we cannot lose sight of why we’ve put countless hours in the gym and in practice. After last year’s loss in the championship we do not want to have that same feeling, and having five seniors that have done great things everyone wants them to walk out of this program on a good note.

In my two years at Stetson I have had many great experiences; I’ve surrounded myself around a great group of girls that have become my family away from my family. We are always around each other and we enjoy hanging out as a team and doing team activities. Being so close off the court correlates to our chemistry on the court and makes it easier to play as a team because we know we have each other’s backs. Throughout the year we have accomplished many great things and we couldn’t have done those things without each other.

This month is a very special time of the season as the second half of conference play is underway. February is also the month where we show our support for breast cancer awareness.  This month is very special to me personally because I’ve lost someone who had a huge impact on my life due to breast cancer. She was a very close family friend but blood couldn’t make us any closer. She was there for me for as long as I can remember and she was a like a second mom to me. When I got the news that she lost her fight against breast cancer it broke my heart, and I remember that day like it was yesterday. This is the time of the season that I look forward to show my support for finding a cure for breast cancer in memory of my Aunt.

Jan 29, 2013 - Uncategorized    Comments Off

Ladies and Gentlemen…Simone Taylor!

Redshirt Junior, Simone Taylor, touches on the Hatters’ success so far this season as well as her emotional experience regarding her ACL injury last year…

As we approach the halfway point of conference play I couldn’t be more excited about our team’s success thus far. Recently our 11 game win streak, which was a not only a school record, but was  just behind Baylor and Notre Dame’s winning streaks, came to end. However, we still hold on to  a 14 home game win streak which is the longest in school history. Even though we still have a long way to go to reach our goal I think that it’s fair to enjoy what we have accomplished at this stage.

In November 2011, l tore my ACL four games into the season against Bradley. This is the only severe injury of my entire basketball career. I’ve had a handful of teammates who have had knee surgeries but I never imagined that it would happen to me. At the time I was probably in the best physical condition that I had ever been in, and I trained extremely hard during the summer of 2011.

Countless times I asked myself why me? Why did it happen to me? But I had lots of time to think and I realized that the injury could be a blessing in disguise .Going through rehab was a humbling experience and I learned to appreciate the things that I took for granted every day, such as the ability to walk.  The toughest part was not being able to: walk independently the first couple of weeks after surgery, hop out bed in the morning and go brush my teeth without assistance. Even though I struggled quite a bit there were also three extremely bright moments during the rehab process. This included: the first time I ran, the day I was cleared to play again, and when I played in open gym for the first time in about a year with my teammates. The first time I ran was about 3 months after surgery on a treadmill. At that moment I could empathize with a young Forrest Gump when he broke out of the orthopedic leg braces and took off running. So I guess you could only imagine the joy that I felt. After I became used to running I can’t deny that rehab became monotonous until the second most memorable moment a few months later when I was medically cleared to play. At that moment all of the hard work that I put in over the eight months of rehabbing five days week paid off. Once I was cleared the third highlight was when I played open gym with my teammates for the first time since the injury and couldn’t have been happier. I appreciated the fact that I could be playing full go in the Edmunds Center; it was just an incredible feeling. Basketball was something that I missed being a part of. Having the opportunity to come back and play with this team is special to me, as we will continue to make more history this season.

Through it all I’d like to thank my family, teammates, and coaches for supporting me throughout the whole process, from checking on me via text message, to visiting my apartment, and bringing a smile to my face. Also I’d like to thank the awesome medical staff at Stetson and the physical therapists of Bethesda Memorial Hospital for their patience with me on the days I didn’t feel like rehabbing. Everyone encouraged me by keeping my spirits high and believing that my knee would be fine.

Looking back, the adversities I have come to appreciate have humbled me in ways I cannot begin to explain. The opportunity to be back on the floor playing again with my teammates is such a blessing. In life there are things we take for granted and knowing that I had basketball stripped from me once before, I take every day and make it my best knowing that a championship is in our future! Go Hats!

Jan 15, 2013 - Uncategorized    Comments Off

Say hello to Sasha Sims!

Junior forward Sasha Sims fills us in on how important this second half of the season is to her and her teammates and just how special it could turn out to be…

The very best thing about winter break ending and school starting back is the start of conference play. As a team we have worked very hard and have been preparing specifically for conference and we are excited that the time has come. Second semester always seems to fly by very fast so we already cherish every moment and every game like it is our last. We remind ourselves often that basketball doesn’t last forever and as long as you are an abled body and have the capability of playing this game then we will do it to the best of our ability. I think sometimes we surprise ourselves on how great we can be as a team and there are also times where we can be our own worst enemy.  But all in all, 2013 has great things in store for our team and we are very excited about what is to come our way.

One of our current records that we look forward to building on is our home game winning streak which is at 12 as well as our 9 game win streak that we have going for the season. My teammates and I have all had the grand opportunity to be a part of many history making moments in our careers and we  just want to continue to do so. Win streaks are something that can quickly change but we work hard every day to be sure that we always put ourselves in the best position to win. We are all humbled by the many blessings that have found us over the years and we continue to hope for many more.

This past weekend we played USC Upstate and ETSU – thank God this road trip is over! The fact we played a game in which the roof was leaking and ETSU personnel had to constantly keep wiping the floor while the game was being played was a fitting end to this painfully long road trip. However,
even with that bit of adversity at the end of the day we won at ETSU for the first time in school history. I am proud to be a part of another first for the
Hatters.

I think that the scariest thing for me personally is that I will be a senior once this year is over, seems like just yesterday I was a confused lone freshman messing up plays and not knowing what my next move was. I’m glad those days are over but I can honestly say that I’m not sure if I’m ready for it to come to an end either. Until then, I’m just going to keep my eyes on this championship that my
teammates and I are hungry for.

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