Taylor hits milestone, FMU women win 6th straight

Taylor hits milestone, FMU women win 6th straight

FLORENCE, SC – Although she might not have looked it, Lauryn Taylor was “super excited” after Saturday’s 75-41 win over Erskine.

The win was of course the highlight – Francis Marion’s sixth in a row – but the young center from Blythewood also celebrated a career milestone.

In the first half against Flying Fleet, Taylor pulled down her 500th career rebound for the Patriots (8-6, 6-2) as they continued to climb the Conference Carolinas standings after starting the day in third place.

“I like to give back, that’s what I’ve always done (in) high school and here,” she said. “I’m starting to learn that rebounding is very important – just as good as scoring. So, doing my bit, I’m delighted that it’s showing up in the record books now with 500 and I’m proud to be here doing it.”

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Taylor nearly capped off her special day with another double-double, but ended up one rebound short after posting 17 points and nine boards. Ended a three-game hitting streak with a double-double, but her impact was evident both in Saturday’s game and the program as a whole, coach Jeri Porter said.

“When she walked in the door a couple of years ago, we knew we had gotten a steal,” Porter said. “And obviously as she’s gotten better and better and gotten more comfortable in our system; more and more comfortable with the people around her, she just keeps adding layers to her game.

“The result is big for us, but there have been games where this kid has come off the floor with 20-plus rebounds.”

Taylor was one of four Patriots in double figures as FMU continued to lead the conference in scoring. Jasmine Stanley had 17 points, also followed by Trinity Adams with 12 and Kiana Lee with 11. Stanley finished with a double-double, pulling down 11 rebounds.

“We’re a basketball team where we feel like we can score,” Porter said. “We’re still leading the league in scoring, but our focus this year has honestly been on defense. We felt like we were a team last year that could score 80, but we’d give up 70.

“So the conversation we started was, what if we could score the same 70, 75, 80, but we’re holding teams to 60 or below?”

FMU has done that six times now, including five times during this winning streak.

It also helps get off to the kind of start the Patriots did. FMU started with a 12-0 run and led by double digits for most of the afternoon.

The lead was 24-4 at halftime and 40-17 at halftime.

“It feels good to see everyone contributing to the game, whether it’s scoring, assists or rebounds,” Taylor said. “But it feels good to play as a team and then to play team defense at the same time where we’re not letting the other team score – it feels a lot better.”

The lopsided score was also helped by what Porter said was her team’s best 3-point game of the season. FMU shot 61.5% from beyond the arc (8-for-13), with Lee and Janiyah Hagood going a combined 5-for-5.

Erskine (4-9, 2-7) was led by Shanece Mitchell and Ianna Odulaja, who finished with 11 points. Joining them in double figures was former Albany South Florence senior Wilson, who had 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds in her return to Florence.

The Patriots will begin a tough three-game conference slate on Monday. FMU travels to Southern Wesleyan before facing Mount Olive on the road on Wednesday. The week ends with a key game against UNC Pembroke on Saturday at home.

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