FLORENCE, SC – Sophomore Shaunice Fulmore scored 21 points to lead four Francis Marion University players in double figures as the Patriots rolled to an 83-64 win over the University of North Georgia, Saturday evening (Feb. 25) in a quarterfinal game of the Marvin Vanover Peach Belt Conference Women's Basketball Championships presented by Jani-King.
By virtue of its second-place finish in the East Division, Francis Marion (18-11) hosted the Nighthawks (20-9), who were the third seed from the West Division. UNG was ranked 10th in the latest NCAA Division II Southeast Region poll.
The Patriots, who have won nine contests in a row and 11 of their last 12, advance to face sixth-ranked and West Division top-seed Columbus State University (26-1) in a semifinal game on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. in Greenwood, S.C., on the campus of Lander University.
The quarterfinal win was only the second time Francis Marion has ever hosted a PBC Basketball Tournament game. The victory was the 250th career coaching win for FMU head coach Jeri Porter – who last year took the Patriots to the NCAA Elite Eight.
Fulmore shot 9-of-18 from the floor and grabbed 10 rebounds for her third double-double of the season. Junior forward Briana Burgins also notched a double-double, her fifth of the year, with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Junior guard Keanua Williams came off the Patriot bench to contribute a career-high 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting, while junior guard Khai Chandler also scored 15. Chandler climbed to within 36 points of the 1,000-point mark for her career, while Fulmore reached the 800-point plateau. Senior point guard TeTe Flowers continued her stellar floor leadership with nine points and eight assists while committing only three turnovers.
Francis Marion forced 24 Nighthawk miscues and held a 34-16 edge in points-off-turnovers.
Senior guard Jordan Livesay led North Georgia with 19 points, while senior forward Kelsey Hutchins added 15 points.
FMU trailed only once, at 4-3, but erased that deficit with an 9-0 spurt and eventually led 14-10 at the end of the first quarter. North Georgia rallied to tie the score at 16-16 after an Alli Jones layup with 8:56 left before halftime. However, Francis Marion responded with eight straight points – including back-to-back three-pointers by freshman guard Abigail Bullock and Chandler – to assume a 24-16 advantage.
The margin was just five (29-24), but the Patriots closed the second period with a 16-4 run capped by a 33-foot bucket banked in by Bullock as the first-half horn sounded. FMU led 45-28 at intermission.
The Nighthawks scored the opening two buckets of the second half to draw within 13 at 45-32, but the Patriots answered with a 17-3 spurt that produced a 62-35 lead with 4:22 left in the third quarter.
The margin was 25 points (68-43) heading into the final period.
FMU's largest lead came at 73-43 with 8:48 remaining after a three-pointer by Fulmore, one of eight long-range shots made the Patriots on Saturday.
Francis Marion connected on 44.4 percent of its field goal attempts and was 19-of-26 at the foul line, while North Georgia shot 45.3 percent and hit 11-of-13 free throw attempts.