Lady Cougars handle Francis Marion

CSU 68, Francis Marion 51

COLUMBUS – The Columbus State Lady Cougars used stifling defense on Friday night, holding Francis Marion to 29.3 percent shooting to post a 68-51 win at the Lumpkin Center.

Asha Alexander led CSU in scoring and rebounding with 18 points and eight boards. Chatil Bradford chipped in 15 points and six rebounds while Carrie Washington had six boards and 11 points for the Lady Cougars. Britteny Tatum and Tae Smith each dished out four assists.

"It's great to get back on the winning track with a home PBC win," said CSU head coach Jonathan Norton. "Our defense really carried us tonight. We created turnovers which led to some easy baskets in transition."

The Lady Cougars forced 24 turnovers and shot 47.5 percent from the floor, 29-for-61. They only turned the ball over 16 times in comparison.

FMU's offense was led by Kim Roach and Cy'erra Mills with 11 and 10 points, respectively. The Patriots won the battle of the boards, 42-35, led by Alaysia Watts with eight.

The Patriots led for the first 11-plus minutes but never by more than three points. The spirited Lady Cougars would not let FMU put them away and tied up the ball game 15-15 at the 8:47 mark on a layup by Tatum. Although FMU's Briana Robinson tied it back up with a pair of free throws, Washington scored seven unanswered points in just 35 seconds to give Columbus State a 22-17 nod.

With 8:28 on the clock, Washington dropped in a layup to put the Lady Cougars up by two. Smith snagged a steal from Robinson that led to a Washington jumper. Finally, Washington herself had a quick steal and layup, was fouled and completed a three-point play at the 7:53 mark.

Columbus State stretched the lead to 12 with a 9-2 run that followed the Washington show. Alexander knocked down two jumpers, Tatum hit a trey and Alexander sank two from the charity stripe to put the Lady Cougars ahead 31-19 with 5:33 on the clock.

CSU continued to hold firm and led by as much as 13 late in the half. With an impressive mid-game field goal percentage of 51.6 percent, 16-for-31, they went to the locker room with a 38-27 advantage.

With Columbus State leading 42-29 two minutes into the second half, the Patriots rallied with an 11-1 run to trim the deficit to three points. The score read 43-40 in favor of CSU at the 12:56 mark. The only CSU point came from a free throw by Bradford at 16:34, but as a team the Lady Cougars were 1-for-6 from the line during the FMU string.

The Lady Cougars went eight minutes without a field goal. The draught ended with Smith putting in a layup with 10:02 left in regulation.

Columbus State finished out the game in strong fashion. FMU had a scoreless stretch of almost five minutes as CSU marched out to a 47-40 advantage with under nine minutes to go. In the last 10 minutes, shots fell for the Lady Cougars as they hit 10-for-16 from the floor and clinched the 68-51 victory.

The Lady Cougars host University of North Carolina Pembroke on Sunday at 1:30 p.m ET at the Lumpkin Center.