FLORENCE, SC – Sixteenth-ranked University of North Georgia outscored Francis Marion University 18-11 in the third quarter and used that push to claim a 75-68 victory over the Patriots, Saturday afternoon (Dec. 1) in the Peach Belt Conference women's basketball opener for both squads.
Francis Marion (2-2, 0-1) will now take a break for final exams before returning to action on Dec. 14 with a road contest at Claflin University. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m. in Orangeburg. The next home contest for FMU will be Jan. 5 against Young Harris College at 1:30 p.m.
Senior Shaunice Fulmore led the Patriots with 19 points, while graduate student Briana Burgins added 15 points and junior guard Abigail Bullock chipped in 12 points coming off the bench. Burgins climbed past former Patriot Creshenda Singletary and into 28th position on the FMU career scoring chart with 1,066 points.
FMU freshman 5-10 center Zaria Woods registered her first collegiate double-double with career highs of 10 points and 10 rebounds, while dishing out three assists.
Sophomore guard Abbie Franklin led the Nighthawks (6-1, 1-0) with 22 points and seven rebounds, while senior Amber Skidgel recorded 19 points and seven rebounds, and senior Tamera Thorpe 13 points and seven rebounds.
UNG made seven of its first eight field goal attempts to forge an early 16-10 advantage, but Francis Marion closed the opening period on a 12-1 run to claim a 22-17 lead. Bullock capped the run with a three-pointer just before the horn.
Five points from Bullock helped FMU extend its margin to 30-20 at the midway point of the second quarter. The Nighthawks, defending PBC regular-season and tournament champions, answered with a 14-4 spurt to knot the game at 34-34 as the teams left the floor at halftime.
In the decisive third period, UNG held Francis Marion to 3-of-9 shooting while forcing the Patriots to commit eight turnovers, which were converted into eight points. North Georgia led by as many as 10 on two occasions in the third quarter.
Trailing 52-45 heading into the fourth period, FMU trailed by eight (57-49) after a three-point play by Burgins with 6:50 left. After the two teams traded buckets, UNG extended its lead to 66-53 following a pair of free throws by Julianne Sutton with 4:52 remaining.
The Patriots crept to within seven at 70-63 with 37 ticks left, but the Nighthawks were able to secure the win with five free throws in the final 33 seconds.
"I felt like we didn't sustain the level of effort we needed for 40 minutes," FMU head coach Jeri Porter said. "Good teams in this league aren't going to let a 10-point deficit in the first half get them down or get them out of their game plan. When they came back, we got a little down and lost a little bit of energy so it was a learning lesson for us."
Francis Marion shot 35.8 percent from the floor, including 5-of-14 from behind the arc, and hit 15-of-26 free throws. North Georgia connected on 44.8 percent of its field goal attempts, including 9-of-17 from long distance, and made 14-of-26 charity tosses.
FMU did hold a slight 43-42 rebounding advantage and led 19-12 in second-chance points.
Post-Game comments from FMU head coach Jeri Porter
12/01/18 1:30 pm at Florence, SC (Smith University Center)
#16 NORTH GEORGIA 75, FRANCIS MARION 68
NORTH GEORGIA (6-1)
Franklin,Abbie 7-13 5-7 22; Skidgel,Amber 7-13 1-2 19; Thorpe,Tamera 6-11
1-3 13; Groover,Kara 2-6 1-2 7; Sutton,Julianne 2-7 3-4 7; Arnold,Imani 1-3
2-4 4; Agrusa,Vanessa 1-5 0-2 2; Arthur,Faith 0-0 1-2 1; Skinner,Livia 0-0
0-0 0. Totals 26-58 14-26 75.
FRANCIS MARION (2-2)
Shaunice Fulmore 7-18 3-4 19; Briana Burgins 5-9 5-7 15; Abigail Bullock
4-15 2-4 12; Zaria Woods 4-8 2-4 10; De'Ja Marshall 2-7 3-5 7; Alliyah
Gillespie 1-7 0-0 3; Tatyana McClaney 1-2 0-0 2; Briana White 0-0 0-2 0;
Macy Passmore 0-0 0-0 0; Khamele Manning 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-67 15-26 68.
North Georgia................. 17 17 18 23 - 75
Francis Marion................ 22 12 11 23 - 68
3-point goals--North Georgia 9-17 (Skidgel,Amber 4-6; Franklin,Abbie 3-7;
Groover,Kara 2-3; Sutton,Julianne 0-1), Francis Marion 5-14 (Shaunice
Fulmore 2-3; Abigail Bullock 2-8; Alliyah Gillespie 1-3). Fouled out--North
Georgia-Agrusa,Vanessa; Thorpe,Tamera; Arnold,Imani, Francis Marion-Briana
Burgins. Rebounds--North Georgia 42 (Franklin,Abbie 7; Skidgel,Amber 7;
Thorpe,Tamera 7), Francis Marion 43 (Zaria Woods 10). Assists--North Georgia
17 (Agrusa,Vanessa 6), Francis Marion 11 (Abigail Bullock 3; Zaria Woods 3).
Total fouls--North Georgia 26, Francis Marion 22. Technical fouls--North
Georgia-None, Francis Marion-None. A-723