SAVANNAH, GA – Francis Marion University outscored Armstrong State University by five in the second half, but was unable to overcome a hot shooting first half by the Pirates and fell 76-73, Wednesday night (Feb. 10) in Peach Belt Conference women's action.
Senior forward Alaysia Watts scored a game-high 22 points for the Patriots and connected on 4-of-6 three-point field goal attempts. Senior guard Camille Dash finished with 15 points and dished out a team-high five assists.
The Patriots (18-6, 9-6) will head to Americus, Ga., on Saturday (Feb. 13) to face the Georgia Southwestern Hurricanes for a 1:30 tip-off. FMU returns home to host Augusta University on Wednesday (Feb. 17) at 5:30 p.m.
Senior guard Shermika Harris paced the Pirates (14-10, 6-9) with 16 points and a team-high five assists. Four Pirates scored in double figures as Harris was joined by Machala Raymonville with 15 and juniors Brigitta Barta and B'Kiya Webb with 14 points apiece and . The Pirates outrebounded Francis Marion 36-27.
Armstrong State controlled the pace of play in the opening quarter against the Patriots. FMU would start to gain some momentum midway through the quarter as Watts hit a layup with 6:48 remaining to tie the game at 6-6. The Pirates would answer with a 10-2 run over the next four minutes to take a 16-8 lead. FMU junior guard TeTe Flowers picked up the final two points of the first quarter cutting the Armstrong State lead to 22-14.
The second quarter saw the Patriots and Watts warm up from the floor. She finished the first half with 11 points to lead all scorers. FMU would hold the Pirates scoreless over the final 2:39 left in the second quarter. Watts drained a three-point shot with 19 ticks left to cap-off a 7-0 run and cut the deficit to 40-32 at the break. Armstrong State connected on 18 of 29 field goal attempts (62.1%) over the first 20 minutes.
Francis Marion flexed its offensive muscle in the third quarter as they opened with a 5-0 run to cut the Pirates lead to 40-37. After trading buckets over the next four minutes, FMU freshman forward Shaunice Fulmore hit a jumper that pulled the Patriots to within one point of the lead. The Pirates hit a pair of late free-throws to take a 55-52 lead into the final stanza.
Sophomore guard Khayani Chandler drained a three-point shot with 7:38 remaining in the fourth quarter to knot the game at 59-59. The teams would find themselves tied on three separate occasions over the final five minutes of the game. Watts would go on to score five of the final seven points for the Patriots. Her three-pointer with seven ticks left on the clock pulled FMU to within a single point at 74-73, but a pair of free throws with 2.9 seconds remaining sealed the victory for Armstrong State. Watts did have a half-court at the final buzzer that hit the side of the rim.
Francis Marion shot 45.3 percent from the field, including 5-of-11 from three-point range, and the Patriots hit 8-of-12 free throws. Armstrong connected on 55.6 percent of its shots, was 1-of-7 on three-pointers, and hit 13-of-19 shots at the foul line.
Fulmore and Flowers each added eight points for the Patriots.