Last-second shot sinks Lady 'Canes

AMERICUS - Monica Mann's one-handed floater in the lane with four seconds remaining gave the Francis Marion women's basketball team a 71-70 victory over Georgia Southwestern on Saturday afternoon in the Storm Dome. 

GSW jumped on the Patriots early, taking a 10-2 lead out of the gate.  

Francis Marion answered with 16-4 run to take an 18-14 lead with just under 10 minutes remaining in the opening half and opened its largest lead of the game (24-17) at the 8:45 mark.

The Lady Hurricanes closed the gap to a single point on two occasions before FMU pushed its lead back to four points (38-34) to close out the half. 

Francis Marion (9-5, 2-4 PBC) continued to hold a slim lead through most of second half until GSW eventually tied the game at 60-60 on a Terra Branch three-pointer with 5:10 to play.

On FMU's ensuing possession, Tania Walters turned a steal into a GSW lead as she fed Nadirah Gardner on a fast break to put the Lady Hurricanes ahead 62-60.

The game would be tied three more times over the final four minutes, the last coming at 68-68 with 49 seconds remaining.

After Shannon Singlton-Bates knocked down a free throw for Francis Marion with 28 seconds left, Kanita Holloway gave GSW a one-point lead (70-69) with a layup four seconds later.

Both teams came up empty on their following possession, setting the stage for Mann's winning shot.  

Francis Marion outrebounded GSW (44-35) and had eight more points in the paint (34-26). GSW shot 44.4 percent from the floor for the game and FMU finished at 45.8 percent.

Gardner led the Lady Hurricanes with 19 points. Branch added 14. Cierra Duhart and Jessica Bivins scored 11 points apiece. Duhart pulled down nine boards.
 
Singleton-Bates led all scorers with 24 points. Simone Trice grabbed nine rebounds for Francis Marion.

Southwestern (7-6, 1-3) returns to the hardwood tomorrow (Sun.) to host UNC Pembroke at 1:30 p.m.