Friday, November 26, 2010

Francis Marion rides hot start to dethrone King 92-63

FLORENCE, SC – Francis Marion University connected on 16 of its first 20 field goal attempts en route to an early 23-point margin and rode that hot start to a 92-63 non-conference win over King College, Friday afternoon (Nov. 26) in women’s college basketball action.

The Patriots (3-0) will open Peach Belt Conference play at USC Aiken on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

Senior Shannon Singleton-Bates led FMU with 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting.  In the process, she moved past former center Cassandra Bishop and into 15th place on the Patriot career scoring list with 1,274 points.  On the defensive end Saturday, the 5-10 forward came up with three steals, blocked two shots, and took four charges.

Junior 6-2 center Hannah Jones made her first start as a Patriot and scored a career-high 16 points (8-of-10 shooting), while grabbing a team-high six rebounds.  Freshman guard Brittany Christian scored a career-high 15 points, including a trio of three-pointers, while senior point guard Robin Colbert tallied 11 points, seven assists, and four steals.  All nine healthy Patriots that dressed scored in the contest.

Senior 5-10 forward Ashley Deans came off the King (1-5) bench to score 20 points, on 10-of-18 shooting, and haul down six rebounds.  Senior guard Derika Mooney added 15 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists.

Francis Marion hit its first five shots, scored the game’s opening 11 points, and never trailed.  By missing only four of their first 20 shots, the Patriots raced to a 36-13 lead with 8:44 left in the opening half.

The Lady Tornado responded with a 13-5 spurt to close the stanza and pulled to within 43-30 at intermission.  Despite not going to the free throw stripe in the opening 20 minutes, FMU shot 63.3 percent from the floor, including making 5-of-8 three-pointers.

King continued its rally after halftime, outscoring FMU 7-2 to start the second stanza and pulled to within eight points at 45-37 following a pair of free throws by Brooke Johnson at the 18:05 mark.

A three-pointer by Christian sparked another hot shooting spell for the Patriots as FMU hit eight of its next 10 shots and pulled out to a 71-49 advantage with 8:44 remaining in the game.  FMU’s largest lead came at 87-57 on a layup by Singleton-Bates with 3:59 left.

Francis Marion improved on its first-half performance by hitting 64 percent from the field over the final 20 minutes and connected on 15-of-19 free throw attempts.

FMU forced 30 King turnovers which were converted into 36 points.

“It was a good team effort,” said first-year FMU head coach Kate Glusko.  “We are going in the right direction and improving every game.  It is always nice to get a win on your home floor as you head into conference play.

“We got some good minutes from Hannah Jones, and Shannon and Robin played well.  Overall, we had some people step up and play well as we came into the game a little short-handed.”

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