GREENWOOD – Chelsea Mitchell scored 26 points, Breshay Johnson moved closer to Lander's career scoring record with 22 points, and Jessica Harris also sparked the Bearcats who used a 34-4 run in the first half to overwhelm Peach Belt Conference rival Francis Marion 106-73 Wednesday night at Horne Arena.
Lander improved to 17-5 overall and 12-4 in the Peach Belt. The Patriots fell to 13-8, 10-6.
The Bearcats and Flagler College remain tied for second place behind North Georgia (14-2) in the PBC standings. Georgia College lost Wednesday night and fell into third place at 11-5.
"In this league, you have to get points from everybody," said head coach Kevin Pederson. "We saw tonight how good we can be when we're clicking, and make no mistake about it, that's a good Francis Marion team. We had a lot of players step up tonight. What Jessica Harris did tonight might not show up in the box score, but she played her tail off."
Mitchell posted a double-double, scoring 26 points on 10 of 17 shooting from the floor while grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds and adding five steals.
Johnson made 10 of 16 shots on her 22-point scoring night. The senior needs 24 points to surpass Shannon McKever as Lander's all-time leading scorer (1,744 points).
Harris had an outstanding floor game for the Bearcats with 18 points on eight of 14 shooting, five assists and four steals.
Destinee Langford added 12 points, nine rebounds and six assists for Lander. She made eight of eight free throws.
Ariana Sanders sparked the Bearcats with a pair of 3-pointers in the opening quarter and finished with 10 points while Christal Williams added nine points. Tabitha Dailey added eight points and nine rebounds for Lander.
Shaunice Fulmore and Khai Chandler scored 51 of Francis Marion's 73 points.
Fulmore scored a game-high 30 points on 13 of 20 shooting from the floor and blocked three shots. Chandler hit nine of 18 shots and finished with 21 points. Fulmore and Chandler led the Patriots with six rebounds apiece.
Lander forced 29 turnovers, scoring 37 points on those turnovers. The Bearcats also grabbed 21 offensive rebounds and totaled 23 second-chance points.
Lander attempted 19 more shots than Francis Marion. The Bearcats made 39 of 82 shots from the floor (47 percent) and 21 of 25 free throws (84 percent). The Patriots hit 31 of 63 floor attempts (49 percent) and six of nine from the line (67 percent).
Francis Marion got baskets from Chandler, Briana White and Fulmore during a 6-0 run that put the visitors in front, 13-7, midway through the first quarter. But the Bearcats responded with the 34-4 run to put the game away.
Lander finished the rest of the opening period on a 20-4 run, building a 27-17 lead going into the second quarter. Harris made a 3-pointer and Sanders knocked down a pair of 3s, igniting the beginning of the run that put the Bearcats in the lead for good.
Lander outscored the Patriots 14-2 to start the second quarter, building a 41-17 lead. Mitchell opened the period with a steal and layup, Williams hit a 3, Mitchell converted a three-point play, Sanders and Mitchell scored, and Harris ended the run with a steal and layup.
The Bearcats were in control by halftime, leading 57-30. Lander outscored Francis Marion 30-13 in the second quarter.
The Bearcats doubled up Francis Marion 70-35 with 4:41 left in the third period on Mitchell's offensive rebound and put-back.
Lander reached 80 points when Mitchell stole the ball, was fouled and made two free throws with 23 seconds left in the third quarter. The Bearcats were up 80-48 going into the final period.
After Sanders made a long jumper just inside the arc, Harris stole the inbounds pass, dribbled along the baseline and passed to Mitchell streaking to the basket for a layup and three-point play opportunity. Mitchell made the free throw, giving Lander a 91-55 with 7:45 still left in the game.
The Bearcats hit the 100-point mark on Destinee Webster's free throw, making it 100-68 with 4:25 to go.