FLORENCE, SC – Senior Alaysia Watts and sophomore Khayani Chandler combined for 45 points as Francis Marion University captured a hard-fought 91-75 win over division co-leader Augusta University, Wednesday evening (Feb. 17) in Peach Belt Conference women's basketball action.
Francis Marion snapped a mini two-game skid and upped its overall mark to 19-7 and its conference record to 10-7. The Patriots are assured of finishing third in the East Division no matter the outcome of the final two regular-season contests.
FMU will play at USC Aiken on Saturday night at 5:30 p.m. and attempt to capture the 23rd 20-win season in the program's storied 43-year history. The Patriots will then return home for their regular-season finale, a Senior Night match-up with UNC Pembroke on Feb. 24 at 5:30 p.m.
Watts registered her ninth double-double of the season with a career-high equaling 24 points and 10 rebounds. The 5-11 forward connected on 10-of-14 field goal attempts and also blocked two shots. Chandler scored a season-high 21 points off the FMU bench as she made 7-of-12 shots, including four three-pointers.
Sophomore forward Briana Burgins returned to the FMU line-up after missing two games with an injury and tallied 13 points, nine rebounds, and five assists, while senior guard Camille Dash added 12 points and six assists and junior guard TeTe Flowers 10 points and eight assists.
The 91 points is a season high for the Patriots and FMU improves to 70-6 in its last 76 games when scoring 85 points or more.
Guard Tavia Sykes led Augusta (20-6, 13-4) with 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting in a reserve role, while junior guard Breonna O'Conner scored 16 points.
The score was tied on three occasions in the opening quarter, but FMU never trailed in the contest. The Patriots made an astounding 11-of-13 shots in the first period, but led by only four, 26-22, at the horn.
A three-pointer by Chandler opened a 29-22 margin early in the second period, but Augusta trimmed the deficit to 33-30 at the midway point after a pair of free throws by Camille Gee. Eight points by Watts, including a pair of three-pointers, fueled a 12-2 Francis Marion run that opened a13-point lead. FMU held a 46-36 advantage at intermission.
The Patriots held a 55-42 lead following a three-point play by Watts, but the Jaguars scored the game's next 10 points to narrow the gap to 55-52 with 3:46 left in the third quarter. After both squads traded three-pointers, FMU used a 13-5 spurt over the final three minutes of the period to take a 71-60 advantage.
The margin swelled to 15 points on a couple of occasions in the final quarter, once at 80-65 after a Watts lay-in with 7:22 remaining. The Jaguars made one final push, rallying to within 81-75 with 4:40 left, FMU would hold them scoreless for the remainder of the game while making 6-of-8 free throws down the stretch. The final margin was the largest of the game.
FMU outrebounded Augusta 37-25 en route to completing the season sweep of the Jaguars.
Francis Marion shot a season-high 59.6 percent from the floor, was 8-of-16 from behind the three-point arc, and made 15-of-21 free throws. Augusta connected on 47.5 percent of its shots, was 6-of-12 from long range, and hit 11-of-18 free throws.
2-17-16 5:30 pm at Florence, SC (Smith University Center)
FRANCIS MARION UNIV. 91, AUGUSTA UNIVERSITY 75
AUGUSTA UNIVERSITY (20-6 , 13-4 PBC)
Tavia Sykes 8-10 2-2 20; Breonna O'Conner 7-13 1-6 16; Camille Gee 3-4 3-3
9; Lonna Turner 3-5 2-2 8; Joshlyn Belcher 2-5 0-0 6; Kariel Hutt 3-9 0-0 6;
Kayla Lovett 2-10 0-0 5; Cynara Pitt 1-3 0-1 2; Samantha Carlson 0-0 2-2 2;
Mallory Myers 0-2 1-2 1. Totals 29-61 11-18 75.
FRANCIS MARION UNIV. (19-7 , 10-7 PBC)
Alaysia Watts 10-14 2-3 24; Khayani Chandler 7-12 3-4 21; Briana Burgins
6-10 1-2 13; Camille Dash 4-5 3-4 12; TeTe Flowers 2-5 6-8 10; Shaunice
Fulmore 4-8 0-0 8; Victoria Dye 1-2 0-0 3; Kristin Tines 0-1 0-0 0; Courtney
Wood 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 34-57 15-21 91.
Augusta University............ 22 14 24 15 - 75
Francis Marion Univ........... 26 20 25 20 - 91
3-point goals--Augusta University 6-12 (Joshlyn Belcher 2-3; Tavia Sykes
2-2; Kayla Lovett 1-3; Breonna O'Conner 1-3; Camille Gee 0-1), Francis
Marion Univ. 8-16 (Khayani Chandler 4-6; Alaysia Watts 2-4; Victoria Dye
1-2; Camille Dash 1-1; Shaunice Fulmore 0-1; TeTe Flowers 0-1; Briana
Burgins 0-1). Fouled out--Augusta University-Kayla Lovett, Francis Marion
Univ.-None. Rebounds--Augusta University 25 (Cynara Pitt 7), Francis Marion
Univ. 37 (Alaysia Watts 10). Assists--Augusta University 21 (Kayla Lovett
6), Francis Marion Univ. 27 (TeTe Flowers 8). Total fouls--Augusta
University 25, Francis Marion Univ. 17. Technical fouls--None. A-887
Charges drawn: Burgins 2, O'Conner, Flowers, Watts