By Brandon Webb
Standing just 5-foot-5, Victoria McGowan looks more like a ballgirl than a ballplayer.
But don’t let her stature fool you. The smallest girl on the court wasn’t handing out towels or dishing out cups of water on the Stetson bench.
Instead, McGowan was piecing together a triple-double – her third of the season and a total that leads the nation -- en route to leading the Hatters to a 67-60 victory over Jacksonville on Friday in the semifinals of the General Shale Brick A–Sun Women’s Championship at Mercer’s University Center.
The junior scored 21 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and doled out 10 assists for Stetson, which will meet Florida Gulf Coast University at noon Saturday in the championship game.
In fact, about the only thing you could take her to task for was missing one of her seven free throws.
The A-Sun Women’s Player of the Year, however, had no inkling that something special was on the horizon when she awoke in her hotel room this morning.
“You’d think you might feel something before going out and having a good game, but I didn’t,” McGowan said. “Really, it was the opposite.”
McGowan , who shot 3-for-9 from behind the arc, said she was miserably “off” during the team’s shoot-around earlier in the day.
“I’ve been dreaming about this game, especially after Wednesday’s game, when I didn’t shoot very well,” McGowan said. “I missed a lot of easy shots.”
McGowan scored 15 points against USC Upstate in the quarterfinals. That’s deceiving, however, because she made only seven of 27 shots.
No matter. McGowan went from “cold” to “gold” – as in the Midas touch against – in the semifinals.
“She’s pretty amazing, isn’t she,” Stetson head coach Lynn Bria said. “We’re kind of spoiled because we’re used to it. I think sometimes the rest of our players just stand around and watch her.
“I just think it takes a special player to contribute through so many ways. She’s a special player and it’s been fun to have a front-row seat for it.”
Asked after the game whether her shot from beyond half court against Belmont at the buzzer in last year’s tournament to escape the semifinals before beating this same Dolphins team in the finals was more exciting than Friday’s day of work, McGowan didn’t hesitate.
“The shot was more exciting, of course,” McGowan said.
Bria quickly chimed in, “The coach prefers the triple-double.”
Brandon Webb is a freelance sports writer based out of Macon, Ga. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.