Florence, S.C. – The College of Coastal Georgia women's basketball team won three straight games for the first time this season as it held on for a 67-65 victory at Francis Marion Sunday at the Smith University Center.
The Mariners (13-9) got a game-high 24 points from freshman guard Olivia Melvin off the bench, thought she did end up playing 33 of the 40 minutes of action. Melvin finished 8-for-15 from the field which included a 4-for-8 total from 3-point range. She was also 4-for-9 from the foul line.
Crystal Chaney finished with 14 points for Coastal Georgia while Lanijia Ernest scored 12 points. Ernest also dished out five assists and notched seven steals. Leading scorer Courtney Saunds finished with eight points in the victory.
Gwen Fernandez led the Mariners with nine rebounds and also blocked three shots. She finished with seven points.
Francis Marion (6-10) was led by T.T. Belcher who scored 16 points.
The Mariners had won two consecutive games three different times this season, but could never make it three in a row until Sunday's victory over the Patriots, an NCAA Division II program which competes in the Peach Belt Conference.
Coastal Georgia led by as much as 14 points inside the 10-minute mark of the second half but Francis Marion remained in the game until the bitter end and had a chance to win at the final buzzer.
The home team trailed 66-61 with 18 seconds left after a jump shot by Chaney for Coastal Georgia. Francis Marion scored on layup by Emilee Dunton with 12 seconds left and she also was fouled on the play. Dunton missed the ensuing free throw, but the Patriots came away with the offensive rebound.
Following another foul against the Mariners, Belcher made two free throws to pull Francis Marion within 66-65 with nine seconds left. Forced to foul, the Patriots sent Melvin to the foul line for two shots with eight seconds to play and the Coastal Georgia freshman made one of two free throws for a 67-65 lead.
Francis Marion got the ball into its frontcourt but a 3-point attempt by Dunton that would have won the game was off the mark and the Mariners got out of town with the victory.
Coastal Georgia will hit the road again Wednesday for games in Tennessee on Thursday and Saturday against Hiwassee College and Tennessee Temple.