MORROW, GA – Francis Marion University will make its fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament when the eighth-seeded Patriots play top-seeded Clayton State University on Friday evening (March 11) in one of four first-round games at the Southeast Regional in Morrow, Ga.
The eight-team regional is being hosted by Clayton State on Friday, Saturday, and Monday (March 11, 12, 14) in its 1,100-seat Athletics & Fitness Center.
Daily ticket prices are $8 for adults and $3 for students. Fans can following the live video and live stats through the FMU athletic webpage at www.fmupatriots.com .
FMU (18-9) and Clayton State (29-1) will play the third contest of the day at 6 p.m. Friday’s other first-round games have third-seeded USC Aiken (26-5) playing sixth-seeded Tusculum College (21-8) at 1 p.m., second-seeded Lander University (27-3) meeting seventh-seeded Wingate University (19-10) at 3 p.m., and fourth-seeded Georgia College (22-6) facing fifth-seeded Barton College (25-4) at 8 p.m.
The Southeast Regional includes three of the top 10 squads in this week’s USA TODAY/ESPN Division II Top 25 Coaches' Poll: #2 Clayton State, #6 Lander, #8 USC Aiken.
The semifinals are set for Saturday at 5 and 7:30 p.m., with the regional title game scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. The FMU/CSU winner will play in Saturday’s second semifinal contest.
The 64-team national tournament field includes 22 automatic qualifiers and 42 at-large selections. Winners of each of the eight regionals will advance to St. Joseph (Mo.) Civic Center for the Elite Eight on March 22, 23 and 25, with the national title game to be televised by ESPN2.
Francis Marion finished third in the Peach Belt Conference’s East Division under first-year head coach Kate Glusko. Seven of the team’s nine losses were to teams who earned invitations to the national tournament.
Senior Shannon Singleton-Bates leads the Patriots in scoring, is second in the Peach Belt, and 10th nationally with a 19.5 points per game average. She is seventh on the FMU’s all-time scoring list with 1,723 points.
Sophomore guard Courtney Mealing is averaging 15.0 ppg, which is fifth best in the PBC.
Senior forward Teshymia Tillman leads Clayton State with 14.9 ppg, while junior Tanisha Woodard averages 11.7 points, 4.2 assists, and 3.3 steals per contest.
The Lakers lead the PBC in scoring offense at 80.1 ppg, while FMU is third at 75.0 ppg. CSU is first in team field goal percentage (45.8%), while again Francis Marion ranks third (42.2%). The Patriots lead the conference and ranked 34th nationally in three-point field goal percentage at 35.6 percent.
With an all-time 11-8 record, FMU is making its fourth straight appearance in the national tournament and the program's ninth appearance overall since moving to NCAA affiliation in 1992. The Patriots earned invitations for five consecutive years between 1997 and 2001, reaching the round of Sweet Sixteen in four straight years (1998-2001) and making the 1998 Final Four. In 2008, FMU hosted the regional as the sixth seed, and in 2010 the Patriots again reached the Sweet Sixteen as the fourth seed in the Southeast. Last year as the third seed, FMU advanced to the round of 32.
Francis Marion trails in the all-time series with Clayton State 14-12, with the Lakers winning this year’s one regular-season meeting 80-60 in Morrow on Feb. 12.
NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Tournament Southeast Regional
Clayton State University in Morrow, Ga. (1,100-seat Athletics & Fitness Center)
FRIDAY (March 11) First-Round Games
USC Aiken (26-5) v. Tusculum College (21-8) 1 pm
Lander University (27-3) v. Wingate University (19-10) 3 pm
Clayton State University (29-1) v. Francis Marion University (18-9) 6 pm
Georgia College (22-6) v. Barton College (25-4) 8 pm
SATURDAY (March 12)
Semifinal Games 5 pm and 7:30 pm
MONDAY (March 14)
Championship game 7 pm