MORROW, GA – Second-seeded Clayton State University scored the game's final 10 points to erase a one-point deficit and claim a 75-66 win over third-seeded Francis Marion University, Saturday evening (Feb. 27) in the quarterfinal round of the 2016 Peach Belt Conference Women's Basketball Tournament.
Francis Marion falls to 21-8 and must now await the March 6 announcement of the NCAA Division II National Tournament field to see if the Patriots will receive an at-large bid. Clayton State improves to 22-5 and advances to next Saturday's semifinals.
Senior Alaysia Watts and sophomore forward Briana Burgins each scored 13 points to lead FMU. Watts also notched her 10th double-double of the season as she hauled down 11 rebounds. Sophomore Khayani Chandler registered 12 points off the bench on 5-of-10 shooting, while senior guard Camille Dash added 10 points.
A pair of reserves led Clayton State as Tweety Hawkins scored 18 points and Daquenna Moore tallied 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Francis Marion held a 66-65 advantage after a lay-in by Dash with 2:25 left. On the ensuing possession, Clayton State's Kayla Price hit a three-pointer to put the Lakers on top for good and two missed layups and two turnovers on the next four FMU possessions allowed Clayton State to assume a 73-66 lead with under a minute to play.
The Patriots opened the game with a 12-2 run as FMU connected on five of its first six shots. Consecutive three-pointers by Watts and Chandler produced an 18-9 advantage near the end of the first quarter. Francis Marion hit five of its first eight three-point shots, but only one of its final seven.
An 8-0 spurt by the Lakers put Clayton State on top by one early in the second period, but Francis Marion answered with its own 8-0 spurt to go up 28-21 following a three-pointer by junior guard Victoria Dye. The Lakers responded with a 15-2 run to close the first half and left for the locker room at halftime holding a 36-30 lead.
The FMU deficit stretched to 40-33, but Francis Marion rallied to claim a 49-48 lead after a fast-break lay-in by freshman Shaunice Fulmore with 3:03 remaining in the third quarter. The Lakers entered the final period with a narrow 55-54 margin.
A pair of layups by Dash quickly put FMU back on top 58-55, but Clayton State again responded with a 10-4 spurt to go ahead 65-62. A bucket by Chandler brought FMU to within 65-64 with 5:13 on the clock, but neither team would score over the next 2:48 until Dash put the Patriots up for the final time. Clayton State shot 65.2 percent (15-of-23) from the floor over the final 20 minutes.
The game featured a combined 58 turnovers with FMU committing 30 and Clayton State 28.
Francis Marion shot 43.3 percent from the floor, including 6-of-15 shots from beyond the arc, while hitting 8-of-13 free throws. Clayton State finished the game at 50 percent from the field, was 5-of-12 from three-point territory, and shot 12-of-17 at the foul line.