(release by FMU SID intern Doug Page)
FLORENCE, SC – Leading by only four points after three quarters of play, Francis Marion University used a 20-point fourth quarter to hold off the University of North Georgia for a 67-57 Peach Belt Conference win, Saturday afternoon (Jan. 18). Senior center Alaysia Watts recorded a career-high five blocks to go along with a team-high totals of 18 points and seven rebounds.
Francis Marion, now 15-3 overall, wins its second straight PBC women's game to improve to 6-3 and move into sole possession of third place in the East Division standings, one-half game out of second and one game behind the division leader. The Patriots will have a couple days to rest before hosting USC Aiken on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Sophomore Khayani Chandler came off the FMU bench to score 13 points – on 6-of-9 shooting – and add three steals for the Patriots. Senior guard Camille Dash added 13 points, including a team-high four assists, while freshman forward Shaunice Fulmore tallied eight points for the Patriots.
Junior forward Kelsey Hutchins led North Georgia (12-6, 4-5) with 18 points and nine rebounds, while senior Cierra Jackson recorded a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
The FMU defense pressured North Georgia into 18 turnovers which were converted into 26 points.
The Nighthawks briefly tied the game 2-2 with nine minutes remaining in the opening frame after a layup by Hutchins, but Francis Marion responded offensively with a 13-2 run over the next five minutes to go up 15-4. Watts tallied FMU's first 10 points of the contest. FMU led 23-12 at the end of the first quarter, closing on an 8-0 run over the final 2:53.
Dash accounted for the Patriots' first two points of the second period, which extended the FMU advantage to 25-14. A three-pointer by Dash with 5:39 left in the period gave Francis Marion its largest lead of the half at 28-16. However, the Nighthawks answered with a 10-2 run to close the stanza and trim the deficit to 30-26 at break.
North Georgia opened the third quarter with some nice offensive pressure to close the gap to three points (32-29). Both team scored 17 points in the third period leaving FMU with still a four-point lead (47-43) heading into the final 10 minutes of play.
FMU kicked the offense into high gear at the start of the final quarter, starting with a 10-0 spurt. The Patriots quickly pushed the lead to 57-43 following a three-point play by junior guard TeTe Flowers with 6:56 remaining that sent the Smith University Center crowd into a frenzy.
North Georgia closed to within 60-51 with 3:30 remaining, but Fulmore answered with a jumper in the lane to extend the advantage back to double digits. Fulmore would add the final points of the game for FMU with 23 ticks left off a beautiful layup to make it 67-55.
Francis Marion shot 43.5 percent from the floor, including 4-of-14 from beyond the three-point arc, and hit 9-of-15 free throws. North Georgia connected on 35.6 percent of its field goal attempts, was only 1-of-10 from three-point territory, and made 14-of-19 attempts from the line.
1-18-16 1:30 pm at Florence, SC (Smith University Center)
FRANCIS MARION UNIV. 67, U. OF NORTH GEORGIA 57
U. OF NORTH GEORGIA (12-6 , 4-5 PBC)
Kelsey Hutchins 7-19 4-7 18; Cierra Jackson 5-16 6-6 16; Jordan Livesay 2-6
2-2 7; Lochlain Corliss 2-5 0-2 4; Julie McKie 2-7 0-0 4; Kaylee Akin 2-2
0-0 4; Molly Rainwater 0-3 2-2 2; Ashley Parker 1-1 0-0 2; Riley Slaton 0-0
0-0 0. Totals 21-59 14-19 57.
FRANCIS MARION UNIV. (15-3 , 6-3 PBC)
Alaysia Watts 7-17 3-4 18; Camille Dash 5-16 1-2 13; Khayani Chandler 6-9
0-0 13; Shaunice Fulmore 3-8 2-4 8; Briana Burgins 3-5 1-2 7; TeTe Flowers
2-6 2-3 6; Kristin Tines 1-1 0-0 2; Victoria Dye 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-62
U. of North Georgia........... 12 14 17 14 - 57
Francis Marion Univ........... 23 7 17 20 - 67
3-point goals--U. of North Georgia 1-10 (Jordan Livesay 1-2; Cierra Jackson
0-2; Lochlain Corliss 0-3; Julie McKie 0-1; Molly Rainwater 0-2), Francis
Marion Univ. 4-14 (Camille Dash 2-5; Khayani Chandler 1-4; Alaysia Watts
1-4; TeTe Flowers 0-1). Fouled out--U. of North Georgia-None, Francis Marion
Univ.-None. Rebounds--U. of North Georgia 40 (Cierra Jackson 11), Francis
Marion Univ. 36 (Alaysia Watts 7). Assists--U. of North Georgia 13 (Kaylee
Akin 6), Francis Marion Univ. 14 (Camille Dash 4). Total fouls--U. of North
Georgia 13, Francis Marion Univ. 17. Technical fouls--None. A-711