Turnovers and missed free throws prove costly for Lady Hurricanes

Published 5:48 pm Monday, December 17, 2018

AMERICUS – The Georgia Southwestern State University women’s basketball team (3-5, 0-2) put up a tough fight against the Lady Patriots of Francis Marion University (4-2, 1-1). However, the speed and size of the Lady Patriots was too much to handle for GSW as FMU won this Peach Belt Conference contest 83-72 on Monday afternoon, December 17, at the Storm Dome.

The Lady Hurricanes had three players in double-figures. Mariya Trimble and Lex Chatman each scored 12 points to lead GSW and Kayla Smith scored 10.

All-American forward Shaunice Fulmore was dominate for the Lady Patriots. She led them in scoring with 24 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Two other FMU players were in double-figures. Tatyana McClaney scored 14 points and Briana Burgins scored 12.

“Number 24 (Fulmore) killed us. She’s an All-American. She made great shots,” GSW head coach Kelly Britsky said. “We actually rebounded the ball better than normal for us. We’re kind of a small team. Fulmore hurt us and #3 (Burgins) hurt us defensively on the defensive boards.”

GSW guard Kya Cochran with the ball. Cochran scored two points against Francis Marion.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

One critical factor in this game was the number of turnovers that GSW committed versus the number of turnovers they created against FMU. “We turned them over 20 times, but we gave it back to them 28 times. You’re not going to win too many games doing that,” Britsky said. “Between us turning the ball over and missing free throws, that’s a big difference in the ball game.”

GSW did indeed turn the ball over 28 times. The Lady Patriots were able to score 30 points off turnovers committed by GSW. The Lady Hurricanes were able to force 20 turnovers and scored 21 points off those turnovers. However, another glaring thing that hurt the Lady Hurricanes was missed free throws. GSW shot 7 for 17 from the foul line for the game (41.2 percent) while FMU shot 20 for 34 from the foul line (58.8 percent). Both teams were tied for the total number of rebounds (41).

GSW guard Lele Young nailed a three-pointer in the loss to Francis Marion.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

FMU jumped out to a 7-0 lead to start the game. The Lady Hurricanes didn’t score until a little over five minutes left in the first quarter when Smith scored two-straight baskets. The Lady Hurricanes outscored FMU 8-6 in the next few minutes. However, with 49.3 seconds left and FMU up 15-14, Trimble was fouled while shooting and was about to go to the free-throw line before play was stopped due to a technical called against FMU. Morgan Towells hit the two technical foul shots to give GSW the lead. Trimble then made one of two free throws, and GSW had a 17-15 lead. The first quarter ended with both teams tied 17-17.

The Lady Hurricanes went on a 7-2 run to start the second quarter, capped off by a basket from Trimble.  A few minutes later, GSW had a 24-21 lead before Fulmore hit a three-pointer to tie the game. Fulmore then scored five more points to give FMU at 29-24 lead before timeout was called. From then on, the Lady Hurricanes never led in the contest.

Out of the timeout, Smith scored on the inside to cut GSW’s deficit to 29-26. However, the Lady Patriots responded with a 5-0 run of their own to take a 34-26 lead. GSW responded with two free throws from Madison Johnson to cut the lead to six. With a little over two minutes left in the half, Kya Cochran hit a jumper to keep the Hurricanes within striking distance, as they trailed 37-30.

GSW struggled to score in the waning minutes of the first half, and FMU led 43-31 at halftime.

GSW really struggled in the first half shooting the ball. The Lady Hurricanes shot 12 for 36 from the field (33.3 percent) while FMU shot 15 for 25 (60 percent). Smith led the Lady Hurricanes with eight first-half points and Towells scored seven. Fulmore led the Lady Patriots with 12 first-half points. FMU could have had a bigger lead by halftime had they made more free throws. The Lady Patriots shot 12 for 23 from the line in the first half (52.2 percent), while GSW went 6-10 from the foul line in the first half (60 percent).

GSW forward Kayla Smith rebounds the ball. Smith scored 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the loss to Francis Marion.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

GSW got off to a good start in the second half as Lele Young hit a three-pointer to cut the deficit to 43-34. With about seven minutes left, Chatman hit a three-pointer to keep GSW within striking distance at 45-37. However, the Lady Hurricanes struggled to stop FMU defensively. Fulmore nailed an off-balanced shot to give the Lady Patriots a 10-point lead at 49-39. Chatman was able to score again to cut the deficit back to eight. The Lady Hurricanes had a chance to cut the deficit to six when Jamesha Samuel drove to the basket and was fouled. However, she missed both free throws.

With 2:13 left in the third quarter, Brianna Perry knocked down a three-pointer to cut the Lady Hurricanes’ deficit to six at 54-48. Then Perry got a steal and scored a fast-break layup. Just like that, GSW only trailed 54-50 with under a minute left in the third. Trimble then scored on the inside to cut FMU’s lead to two. With three seconds left, GSW trailed 56-52, but FMU’s Kiana Adderton was fouled while attempting a three-pointer. Adderton made all three free throws, giving FMU a 59-52 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Chatman scored early in the fourth quarter to try to keep the Lady Hurricanes within striking distance. However, FMU responded with another basket, prompting Britsky to call a timeout early in the fourth quarter. The Lady Hurricanes struggled throughout the game controlling the inside game of the Lady Patriots. By the 7:43 mark of the final quarter, FMU led 65-54. This forced Britsky into calling another timeout. The Lady Patriots had gone on an 8-2 run to give themselves a 67-54 lead. FMU continued to push the ball up the floor and score baskets, increasing their lead to 71-54. However, GSW responded with a 7-0 run, but still found themselves down by double digits at 73-63 with 3:42 to go. They were struggling to get defensive stops against the Lady Patriots.

GSW guard Morgan Towells pushes the ball up the court. Towells scored nine points in the loss to Francis Marion.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

The Lady Hurricanes made one last run to try to get a come-from-behind victory. They scored six unanswered points until Fulmore scored on the inside. Britsky called another timeout with 57 seconds left with her club trailing 79-70. Tamecia Blue scored to cut FMU’s lead to seven. Then with 40.3 seconds, the Lady Patriots were called for traveling. However, GSW was unable to take advantage of the turnover. Kayla Smith committed a foul and Briana Burgins hit both free throws for FMU to push their lead back up to 81-72. With 19 seconds left, there was a hard collision between Chatman and an FMU player. Chatman was on the ground for several minutes and had to be carried off the court by her teammates. FMU would go on to win 83-72.

The Lady Hurricanes will try to get their first PBC win on Wednesday, December 19, when they host the University of North Carolina Pembroke. Tip-off is scheduled for 12 p.m.