Patriot cagers play #4 Cougars in PBC Semifinals

Patriot cagers play #4 Cougars in PBC Semifinals

The Francis Marion University women's basketball team will play top-seeded and fourth-ranked Columbus State University on Saturday night (March 4) at 8:30 p.m. in the semifinals of the 2017 Marvin Vanover Peach Belt Conference Tournament presented by Jani-King.

The PBC Tournament Final Four is being hosted by Lander University in Greenwood, S.C., in the Bearcats' 2,500-seat Finis Horne Arena.

PBC TOURNAMENT Central  http://www.peachbeltconference.org/Tournaments/16-17/17basketball/index

General admission tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children (12 and under), senior citizens (55+) and military and veterans. Tickets for Saturday cover all four semifinal games and the Spirit Competition, while tickets for Sunday cover both championship games. All PBC students will be admitted free with a valid ID from their university.

Live stats and live video will be available through http://www.fmupatriots.com/sports/wbkb/2016-17/schedule

The PBC women's semifinals open with the host and top-seeded Bearcats (23-6) playing No.2 seeded Clayton State University (24-5) at 6 p.m. The FMU/CSU game will follow at 8:30 p.m.  The tournament championship game is set for Sunday at 4:30 p.m. 

FMU (18-11) is the East Division's No.2 seed, while the Cougars (26-1) are the West's No.1 seed, and both teams are riding the longest winning streaks in the league: CSU at 17 games and Francis Marion at nine games.

FMU sophomore forward Shaunice Fulmore is second in the conference in scoring at 17.1 points per game, while also ranking sixth in steals (63).  She is second on the team in assists (1.8 per game) and has scored in double-figures in 28 of 29 games, including eight 20-point contests.

Junior guard Khai Chandler is averaging 13.2 ppg and is only 36 points shy of becoming the 27th Patriot to reach the 1,000-point plateau.  Junior forward Briana Burgins is tallying 12.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per game and ranks third in the PBC in steals (70), while senior guard TeTe Flowers is averaging 8.0 ppg and is tied for the conference lead in assists at 6.0 per contest.

Forwards Alexis Carter (16.0 ppg, 9.8 rpg) and Ashley Asouzu (14.4 ppg, 9.3 rpg) lead the CSU attack.

Francis Marion trails in the all-time series 28-21, and Columbus State captured a 63-52 win earlier this season in Florence.  In that contest, the then 24th-ranked Cougars outscored the Patriots 43-20 in the second half to erase a 32-20 FMU halftime advantage.  Last season, Francis Marion defeated CSU 67-58 in the semifinals of the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional.

The Francis Marion women are in the PBC Tournament for the second straight year and own an all-time tournament mark of 18-19.  The Patriots won the 1998 title and lost in the championship game in both 2006 and 2010.  Columbus State is 37-20 in PBC Tournament play and has made 11 title-game appearances, coming away with four championships.  The two have not met in the Peach Belt Tournament since 2003, when the Cougars picked up a 58-46 semifinal victory.