By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
A band of Patriots from Francis Marion University invaded the Ned Shott Gymnasium Saturday afternoon and set back the Bluefield State College Lady Blues 79-65.
A tight contest throughout, the visitors from Florence, S.C., pulled away in the game’ final eight minutes to claim the 14-point victory.
It was a game of runs. After BSC scored the first basket, FMU scored nine unanswered. State battled back and cut the lead to four on a steal and lay-up by Shay Gravely. Again Francis Marion went on a streak and carried an 11-point lead, 43-32 into the half.
“The first five minutes of the game were good and then we lost some of the things we were doing... allowing them to exploit us with the dribble penetration,” said BSC head coach J.J. Oliver.
“When we went into halftime we focused on pressuring up defensively and eliminating the dribble penetration. We felt like it would help us.”
Oliver was correct. Opening the second half the Lady Blues were the girls on fire as they scored eight straight points. Adana David’s bucket with 16:30 to play in the game pulled the Lady Blues to within two at 46-44.
BSC got even closer, closing to within one when Gravely had another steal and basket to make it 51-50. That, however, would be as close as the Lady Blues would get.
“We had a spurt where we chopped it down to 51-50 and we then had three empty possessions in a row,” Oliver said. “On the third possession they (Francis Marion) hit a three pointer.”
The Patriots increased their lead, moving ahead by 11 and in the game’s final minutes by as much as 17, before closing out the 14 point win.
After shooting 48 percent from the field in the opening half, BSC shot 36 percent in the second half. Francis Marion also shot 36 percent in the second half, but managed to make 50 percent of its three point goals.
“I felt like we missed too many easy shots in the paint,” Oliver said. “I counted 12 in he first half and I think we ended up missing 20 in the second half. Even on possessions where we had three, or four offensive rebounds, we came out with nothing. That not only keeps us from scoring, it affects us mentally and gets the other team up.”
Four Lady Blues scored in double figures, led by Shae Mebane with 11. Tasia Nolan, Adana David and Hope Smith all dropped in 10. Nolan had six rebounds and David five, while Smith and Mebane each had three rebounds and two blocks. Nolan dished out five assists, while Gravely and Mebane each had four steals.
Dee Gray led Francis Marion (3-1) with 19 points and Camille Dash tallied 16. Briana Robinson added 11 and Alexia Bell 10 along with a team-high eight rebounds. Cy’erra Mills pulled down seven rebounds and Gray had five steals and two blocks. Robinson passed out six assists.
“I thought our kids gave really good effort,” Oliver said. “This was a very good team we played. For us it’s moving on to the next action and that’s Chowan on Tuesday night. We’ve got to be ready.”
Bluefield State (0-4) heads to North Carolina to take on Chowan, Tuesday.