– North Georgia College & State University took on the
15th-ranked team in the country on Wednesday evening, facing 40
minutes of full court pressure and falling 90-73 to Francis Marion
University in Peach Belt Conference action.
North Georgia drops to 9-12 overall on the season and 4-8 in the Peach Belt Conference’s West Division, while Francis Marion continued to roll, moving to 20-2 on the season, and 12-1 in the league’s East Division.
Francis Marion’s full court pressure dominated the first half as the Lady Saints turned the ball over 17 times, a statistic that turned into 23 Patriot points in the first period.
The Patriots never trailed in the first half, taking their first double-digit lead of the game with 11:00 minutes to go as Shana Franks hit a layup to give FMU a 10-point advantage at 22-12.
Francis Marion led by as many as 21 points in the first half with 2:05 remaining, but the Lady Saints answered with a run of their own, closing the half on a 10-0 streak to pull to within 11 points at 47-36 heading into intermission. Kari McCann sparked the run off the bench, scoring five of the 10 points in the final 33 seconds.
North Georgia continued to close in on the Patriot lead the opening minutes of the second half, pulling to within six points at 51-45 as Janyce Ealey hit a jumper with 15:34 remaining in the game. Francis Marion responded over the next three minutes however, going on a 15-1 run, capped by another layup from Franks to give the Patriots a 20-point lead at 66-46.
Francis Marion led by as many as 30 points with 2:45 remaining before running away with the 23-point victory in Memorial Hall.
North Georgia shot 40 percent from the field, 22.2 percent from behind the arc, and 68.3 percent from the free throw line, while Francis Marion was 45.6 percent from the field, 50 percent from long range, and 55.6 percent from the charity stripe.
Shannon Singleton-Bates led all scorers with 21 points, going 8-15 from the field, and 5-6 from the free throw line, while Franks added 20 points and Eboni Fields tallied 16 points.
Janyce Ealey paced the Lady Saints with 16 points and five rebounds, while Whitney Randolph was the only other North Georgia player in double figures, finishing with 13 points and eight rebounds while fouling out midway through the second half.
North Georgia returns to action on Saturday afternoon, traveling to UNC Pembroke to take on the Braves in another Peach Belt Conference games. Tip-off is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at the English E. Jones Health and Physical Education Center.