Francis Marion University athletic officials have announced that the Patriot women's basketball team will participate in the 2009 Carolina's Challenge this December in the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.
Francis Marion will play Bluefield (Va.) College at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 20. The University of North Carolina, coached by former FMU head coach Sylvia Hatchell, will meet the University of South Carolina at 3 p.m. and Coastal Carolina University will play Savannah State University in the nightcap at 5 p.m.
The annual challenge is held in conjunction with the prestigious Crescent Bank Holiday Invitational for high school girls' teams.
"This is an extreme honor to be able to take part in this event," said FMU head coach Heather Macy. "To play on a stage such as the Carolina's Challenge, raises our program to a new level, both for exposure and recruiting."
Francis Marion returns six letterwinners from last season's 27-5 squad that ended the year ranked 14th nationally. The Patriots won their second consecutive Peach Belt Conference regular-season championship, made the program's second straight NCAA Tournament appearance (reaching the round of Sweet Sixteen), and led the nation in scoring offense for the second year in a row.
Francis Marion will open its 27-game 2009-2010 schedule on Nov. 15 at home against Converse College. The slate includes 15 home games.