PEMBROKE, NC – Freshman guard Abigail Bullock came off the bench and connected on 5-of-9 three-point attempts, including three in a game-deciding second-quarter outburst that carried Francis Marion University to its eighth straight win, a 68-52 road victory over UNC Pembroke, Wednesday night (Feb. 22) in Peach Belt Conference women's basketball action.
FMU concludes its regular-season schedule with a 17-11 overall mark and a 12-7 league record. The Patriots, winners of 10 of their last 11 contests, finish second in the PBC's East Division standings and will host the University of North Georgia on Saturday at 6 p.m. in a quarterfinal game of the Peach Belt Tournament. It will be only the second-ever PBC Tournament game hosted by the Patriots – joining a 2010 home win over USC Aiken.
Sophomore Shaunice Fulmore led Francis Marion with 20 points and six rebounds, while junior Khai Chandler scored 18 points and Bullock 15. Chandler joined Bullock in the three-point barrage as she nailed 4-of-8 shots from behind the arc and FMU as a team was 10-of21.
Brianna Baham paced the Braves with 14 points, while Airico Williams posted a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. UNCP (15-11, 10-9) will enter the tournament as the East Division's third seed.
UNC Pembroke's only lead of the game came at 16-15 when Nyla Allen scored the final bucket of the first quarter. A three-pointer by Chandler to open the second period put FMU ahead to stay as the Patriots outscored the Braves 25-8 in the quarter to assume a 40-24 halftime advantage.
The Braves closed to within 42-29 early in the third period, but a 7-2 spurt by FMU pushed the margin back to 18 points. Francis Marion led 55-38 heading to the final quarter. UNCP trimmed the margin to 11 points on two occasions, the final time at 57-46 with 6:19 remaining. Fulmore scored four straight points to ignite a 9-2 run that gave FMU a 66-48 lead with one minute left.
Francis Marion shot 45 percent from the floor, while holding UNCP to only 28.6 percent – FMU's best defensive effort of the year. The Patriots also held a 24-6 edge in points-off-turnovers as they forced 19 Brave miscues.