Tigerville, S.C.—The North Greenville Women's Basketball Team dropped to 0-2 on Saturday evening after falling to Francis Marion 61-60 in Hayes Gymnasium.
The Crusaders had their chance to win in the final seconds, but a last second jumper fell just short and the Patriots recovered the rebound as the clock expired. The Patriots out rebounded the Crusaders 52-48 during the final game of the Conference Carolinas Peach Belt Conference Challenge.
The Crusaders shot just 25% from the field while Francis Marion mustered just a 34.3% average from the field. NGU had two players in double figures during Saturday's contest including Alisha Hope who had 17 and Timisty Nelson who totaled 12. Hope totaled the games only double-double adding 11 rebounds to her 17 points.
North Greenville fell behind early after the Patriots opened the game on a 21-9 run. North Greenville clawed back into the game and cut the lead to just five with 5:34 left in the first period. The Patriots would maintain serve for the rest of the period, but only took a six point lead into intermission after blowing their early double-digit lead.
The Crusaders stayed close for the entire game, and eventually made a move late in the second period taking a 38-36 lead after a jumper by Hope. The lead would be short lived however as the Patriots answered back with four straight to regain a 42-40 advantage. Francis Marion would put together another mini run late in the second half to take an eight point advantage at 56-48.
The Crusaders however had one more late run stored away. A Tyler Powers three pointer with 1:57 left in the game would spark a 5-0 run for North Greenville capped off by a three pointer from Alisha Hope to cut the lead to just two. The Drama continued down the stretch of the final 20 seconds. Free throws would put the Patriots back up by four with 19 seconds left, but Powers would once again answer the call with her second three pointer of the game to cut the lead to one.
The Crusaders would call a timeout, and would receive a gift as an unforced error by Erskine on the inbounds pass would give NGU shot at the final possession and a chance to win the game. Alisha Hope would take a pass and dribble to the right side of the lane, but her five foot jumper would fall short, as the clock expired.
The Crusaders fell to 0-2 on the season after this weekend's tournament. NGU turned the ball over 19 compared to 25 for Francis Marion. NGU improved their free throw percentage on Saturday, going 23-27 from the charity stripe for 85.2%. North Greenville was just 3 of 19 from beyond the arc however, and 17 of 68 overall from the field.
The Crusaders will open Conference Carolinas play on Wednesday evening when they travel to Bristol, Tennessee to take on King University. Tipoff between the Crusaders and Tornado is scheduled for 5:30 pm.