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Francis Marion rallies against Lady Lakers

From Staff reports

The Clayton College & State University women's basketball team got off to a "red-hot" 18-4 start Saturday, but cooled quickly, only to have Francis Marion University catch fire from behind the 3-point arc, en route to a 72-57 Peach Belt Conference victory at the Smith University Center in Florence, S.C.

Lakers raced out to a 10-0 lead in the first three minutes of the game, capped by a basket from Myeshia Choice at the 17:03 mark. Clayton State pushed its lead to 14 points, 18-4, three minutes later on a layup by junior Apryl Brown.

Francis Marion battled back, however, thanks to torrid 3?point shooting, hitting five three-pointers in the final 10 minutes of the first half. Junior guard Jennifer Howard cut the deficit to four points, 22-18, with 5:42 remaining with a three-pointer, followed by tying the score at 26 apiece, two minutes later hitting another 3-pointer.

The Patriots took their first lead of the game, 28-27, on a basket by senior Marta Losonczy and led 33-29 at halftime as freshman Jennifer Dewell drained at three-pointer with 1:21 remaining. FMU led 33-29 at intermission, outscoring the Lakers 29-11 over the final 14 minutes of the half.

After falling behind by 11 points, 44-33, with 14:28 remaining in the second half, the Lakers went on a 12-4 run over a five-minute stretch and cut the lead to two points, 45-43, with 10:45 remaining on a basket by junior Apryl Brown.

Clayton State would come no closer though, as Francis Marion went on a 8-0 run and pushed its lead to double digits, thanks in large part to two three pointers, one from Howard and another from sophomore Danielle Moore giving the Patriots a 55-45 lead with 8:06 remaining.

With the loss, the Lakers drop to 8-5 on the season and to 0-2 in the Peach Belt. Hindsman and junior post Brandi Catia led the Laker attack with 14 points, followed by Brown with 13 points. Brown had a team-high nine rebounds, followed by Catia with eight.

For FMU, Howard finished with a game high 19 points, followed by Moore with 13 points. Junior Michelle Ghere finished with nine points and seven rebounds.

Francis Marion shot 54 percent (25-of-46) from the field, including 67 percent (10-of-15) from three-point land. The Lakers finished the game at 36 percent (23-of-64) and only 1-of-16 from three-point territory.

Clayton State outrebounded the Patriots 36-27 and had two fewer turnovers but could not overcome FMU's standout shooting. FMU's 10 three-pointers was a season high.

The Lakers fall to 9-2 all-time against Patriots and have lost three straight to the Patriots.