FLORENCE, S.C. - The Francis Marion University men’s and women’s basketball teams have announced their 2003-04 schedules, highlighted by a pair of trips to Florida and a doubleheader in the Florence Civic Center.
The FMU men welcome back 10 of 12 lettermen, including all five starters, from last season’s 13-14 squad that finished third in the Peach Belt Conference’s North Division standings. Eight of the team’s defeats were decided in the final 25 seconds, including three losses on buzzer-beater baskets. The team’s nine-win improvement over the previous season was tops in the Peach Belt.
The Patriots open their season with five home games in 11 days, beginning with the season opener Nov. 15 against Allen University. Following the homestand, Francis Marion hits the road for seven consecutive away contests, including three games at the Palm Beach Hoop Classic, Dec. 17-19, in Boca Raton, Fla.
The Patriot men open their 16-game PBC slate, Jan. 7 at Lander University. Francis Marion will make its fourth appearance in the 8,500-seat Florence Civic Center, when the Patriots host USC Aiken on Feb. 4. Homecoming is slated for Feb. 28 when FMU entertains Augusta State University in the regular-season finale.
The FMU women welcome back nine letterwinners, including four starters, from last season's 12-18 squad. Second-year head coach Valecia Tedder hopes to build on the squad’s strong finish last year - an appearance in the PBC Tournament semifinals - while her young squad has also gotten a year older.
The Patriots open their season Nov. 22 by playing host to North Carolina Central University. The team will travel to St. Petersburg, Fla., Nov. 28-29, for the Eckerd College Classic.
Like the men’s team, the women open Peach Belt play Jan. 7 at Lander, and they will also meet USCA in the civic center on Feb. 4.
Augusta State will serve as host for the 2004 Peach Belt Conference men’s and women’s tournament, March 2-7.