FMU Women return to Top 25 poll; Patriots hosts long-time rival on the hardwood, Wednesday
FLORENCE, S.C. – The Francis Marion University men’s and women’s basketball teams will play host to long-time rival Lander University for a key Peach Belt Conference doubleheader, Wednesday evening (Jan. 28) for the annual Sea of Red Night. All fans attending are asked to wear red in support of the Patriots.
The twinbill will tip-off with the women’s game at 5:30 p.m. in the Smith University Center, followed by the men’s contest at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for students.
The women’s contest will be joined in progress at 7 p.m. on WWFN-FM 100.1 The Fan, and the men’s game will be aired in its entirety.
The Francis Marion women (14-1, 7-1) entered the USA Today ESPN Division II Top 25 poll this week at the No. 19 position. FMU was ranked for six weeks last season, after a seven-year drought, and reached as high as 18th in the national poll.
Currently, the Patriots are off to their fifth-best start in team history and own a 1.5 game lead in the PBC standings. The young Lander squad (10-6, 5-4), which includes no juniors or seniors, is tied for sixth place in the conference standings.
Francis Marion leads the all-time series 48-20, but Lander won two of three meetings in 2007-08 with each team winning on the other’s home court and Lander knocking the Patriots from the Peach Belt Tournament in Aiken.
Junior guard Shana Franks continues to lead the Patriots in scoring with a 16.3 points per game average. Senior guard Jennifer Dyer, averaging 10.7 ppg this season, is only seven points from reaching the 1,000-point mark for her career, which began at Rollins College in Florida.
FMU continues to lead the nation in scoring offense at 92.8 ppg, while Lander is 14th at 81.2 ppg.
The men’s game will be the 80th all-time meeting between the two programs. Lander leads the series 44-35, but the two schools have split the last 10 meetings. This season, Francis Marion (10-5, 3-5) is looking to stop a three-game slide, while Lander (8-7, 4-5) is one-half game ahead of the Patriots in the conference standings.
Senior forward Sam Smith paces three Patriots scoring in double figures with an 11.3 ppg average.