FLORENCE, S.C. — Jeri Porter didn’t mince words when talking about Wednesday’s game against Augusta University.
“Bad loss — might be the worst one of the season,” the Francis Marion University women’s basketball coach said after her squad fell 59-56 to the Jaguars. “Just in terms of where we are right now and in the conference standings and just trying to battle our way into a good seeding for the (Peach Belt) Conference tournament.
“…We’ve got a tough road swing in front of us with Clayton (State), Georgia College and then Lander, so we needed to get this one. It’s one I think we’re going to feel a little further down the road.”
That road is a little more daunting now. The Patriots (11-10, 7-8) entered the night in sixth place in the PBC standings, and were only two games behind Clayton State for the fourth seed.
Augusta (8-15, 5-10) meanwhile was in the midst of an eight-game losing streak. But it was easy to point to what the key factors were, Porter said.
“The thing that jumped out to me was the turnovers (24) and the free throws,” she said. “You lose a game by three points, and we missed 10 free throws (7 for 17). I think three of us went to the line and went 0 for 2. The games that we’ve won this year, and particularly the ones where we’ve struggled to score, we’ve been able to score with free throws or maybe getting out transition and getting some things early with our offense.”
That wasn’t the case Wednesday as FMU fell behind 17-9 after the first quarter. The Patriots rallied to tie the game at 25-25 at the break, but it was back and forth the rest of the way. The game saw 10 lead changes and six ties, and neither team had more than an eight-point lead at any time.
Francis Marion rallied to within 53-52 with 3:33 left in the game, but didn’t score again until there were 15 seconds remaining.
“For us it came down to another night where we needed a second or third scorer,” Porter said. “We had some good looks (down the stretch), but we just weren’t able to knock down. But it’s things like that that we’ll go back and look at and see what kind of looks we maybe should have gotten.”
That might involve more touches for Kiana Adderton. The junior forward led the Patriots with a game-high 27 points and also pulled down 10 rebounds. She scored 14 points in the fourth quarter alone to help FMU rally back into the contest.
“In the last couple of games, she’s actually shot the ball really well from the perimeter,” Porter said of Adderton. “People are finding it really difficult to guard her and obviously her numbers tonight bear that out.”
Scarlett Gilmore added 11 points and Tatyana MClaney added nine for FMU. Zariya West led the Jaguars with 17 points followed by Kennedi Manning and Cameryn Wilson with 11 each.