AIKEN --- USC Aiken's guards had their work cut out for them Wednesday night when Francis Marion brought an undefeated record to the USC Aiken Convocation Center.
The Lady Patriots threw every kind of defensive set imaginable at the home team -- man-to-man, full-court zone, half-court traps -- but the USC Aiken backcourt overcame the pressure in a 75-57 women's victory.
"Just bringing the ball up the court, we knew their style of play was a lot of pressure and force turnovers," Lady Pacers guard Kendra Chandler said. "They had a lot of athletic girls."
The 5-foot-7 Chandler notched a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds and was part of the USC Aiken backcourt that survived the initial pressure from Francis Marion.
The Lady Patriots (9-1, 2-1) led by as many as five points in the first half, but the second half belonged to the Lady Pacers (11-3, 3-1).
"Overall, I thought it was the best team performance (of the season) for us top to bottom," USC Aiken coach Mike Brandt said. "They brought an extreme amount of pressure, and the idea was to just weather out the storm and wait for the fatigue factor."
The fatigue set in early in the second half for the visiting team when the Lady Pacers scored the first seven points of the half.
The tide turned for good when reigning Peach Belt Conference Player of the Week Meredith Legg nailed back-to-back 3-pointers four minutes in, and the Lady Patriots struggled through a stretch of almost 6:30 without making a basket in the second half.
"We knew their guards like to drive, so we tried to focus on limiting their penetration," Chandler said.
The two teams spent most of the remainder of the game at the free-throw line. USC Aiken hit 32 of 44 free throw attempts including 20 of 24 in the second half, while Francis Marion managed to convert on only 16 of 27 attempts at the foul line.
Legg led all scorers with 23 points on six of seven shooting from the field.
She went a perfect 5-for-5 from the 3-point line and 6-for-6 at the foul line.
Francis Marion was led by guard Shana Franks with 13 points and eight rebounds.