Extra Watts provide spark for FMU Win

FMU guard Cy'erra Mills
FMU guard Cy'erra Mills

TIGERVILLE, SC –  Junior 5-11 forward Alaysia Watts provided career highs of 11 points and eight rebounds to help lead Francis Marion University to a 61-60 win over North Greenville University, Saturday evening (Nov. 15) on the second day of the Peach Belt Conference-Conference Carolinas Women's Basketball Challenge.

The victory evened Francis Marion's record at 1-1 and handed first-year head coach Jay Sparks his first win as a Patriot. It was also his 368th career victory.  Sparks returned to the sidelines this year and coaching at Columbus State University for 20 seasons and then moving into athletic administration for the past five years.

FMU will continue its four-game season-opening road trip when the Patriots travel to Orangeburg to meet Claflin University on Wednesday for a 5:30 p.m. tip-off.

Senior guard Cy'erra Mills led FMU with 12 points and five assists, while freshman Briana Burgins added eight points and seven rebounds.  Freshman 5-9 forward Stephanie Brown came off the bench to tally five points and 13 rebounds, her second straight double-digit rebounding effort.

Alisha Hope paced North Greenville (0-2) with 17 points and 11 rebounds, but it was her last-second miss that allowed FMU to escape with the one-point win.

Francis Marion opened an early 21-7 advantage as the Patriots connected on nine of their first 16 shots. The Crusaders closed to within five points, but FMU held a 30-24 lead at halftime.

A bucket by FMU junior guard Camille Dash upped the margin to eight points, 36-28, with 16:59 left.  North Greenville responded by scoring the game's next 10 points to take its first lead of the contest at 38-36 at the 12:31 mark. 

A fast-break hoop by Burgins gave Francis Marion a 42-40 lead with 10:51 remaining and the Patriots would not trail again – although the score would be tied on several occasions. A three-pointer by Mills broke the final deadlock at 46-46 and ignited a 10-2 FMU spurt.

A pair of free throws by Mills gave the Patriots a 61-57 lead with 19 seconds left.  NGU's Tyler Powers then drained a three-pointer with 10 ticks remaining to cut the margin to 61-60, but following a Patriot turnover, Hope was unable to connect on her last attempt.

FMU improved its shooting from opening night as the Patriots hit on 34.3 percent of their field goal attempts, including 7-of-21 from three-point range.  Francis Marion held the Crusaders to 25 percent shooting from the floor and only 3-of-19 from long distance.  However, North Greenville held a large advantage at the charity stripe, making 23 of 27 attempts compared to FMU's six of 10.

FMU did hold a 52-48 rebounding edge.

 
11-15-14 5 pm at Hayes Gymnasium (Tigerville, S.C.)
FRANCIS MARION 61, NORTH GREENVILLE 60

 

FRANCIS MARION (1-1)
Cy'erra Mills 3-13 4-6 12; Alaysia Watts 5-8 0-0 11; Emily Green 3-9 0-0 8;
Khayani Chandler 3-7 0-0 8; Briana Burgins 4-11 0-0 8; Camille Dash 3-8 1-2
7; Stephanie Brown 2-5 1-2 5; Courtney Wood 1-4 0-0 2; Mariah Johnson 0-0
0-0 0; Natalie Bruce 0-1 0-0 0; Danielle Pray 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 24-70 6-10 61.
NORTH GREENVILLE (0-2)
Alisha Hope 5-17 6-8 17; Timisty Nelson 3-13 6-6 12; Emily Wampler 1-8 7-7
9; Erika Cobb 3-6 2-2 8; Cortney Williams 2-2 2-2 6; Tyler Powers 2-13 0-0
6; Amber Martin 1-3 0-2 2; Ciara Suggs 0-1 0-0 0; Paulette Addison 0-4 0-0
0; Divonnie Powell 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-68 23-27 60.
Halftime: Francis Marion 30 North Greenville 24
3-point goals--Francis Marion 7-21 (Green 2-7; Chandler 2-2; Mills 2-7; Watts
1-2; Pray 0-2; Dash 0-1), North Greenville 3-19 (Powers 2-11; Hope 1-4; Wampler
0-4). Fouled out--Dash. Rebounds--Francis Marion 52 (Brown 13), North
Greenville 48 (Hope 11). Assists--Francis Marion 12 (Mills 5), North Greenville 9
(Wampler 4). Total fouls--Francis Marion 24, North Greenville 12. Technical fouls-
None. A-278


        Alaysia Watts