After two and a half months of non-conference play, the Mercer women’s basketball team began conference play in January. The Bears held a winning record after non-conference play. They had seven wins and four losses heading into the new year.
The Bears won their home conference opener against the University of North Florida on Jan. 2. Junior guard Briana Williams lead the team with 20 points. The Bears fought hard and came out on top of the Ospreys 62-48, winning their first conference match.
Two days later, the Bears were back on the court to face off the Jacksonville University Dolphins. They fought hard, however, were unable to pull out a win. Junior guard, Precious Bridges led the team with 19 points.
Just five short days later, the Bears were on the road to face Northern Kentucky University and Lipscomb University. During Friday’s game against Northern Kentucky, Precious Bridges scored her 1,000th career point. She is now the 23rd player in Mercer University history to accomplish this goal. She is also the sixth player currently playing in the Atlantic Sun Conference with 1000 career points.
Sharnea Boykin scored a career high of 14 points against Northern Kentucky and now leads the Atlantic Sun with 6.4 assists per game.
The Bears won their fourth conference game against Lipscomb University on Saturday. The game was tied until the last three minutes of the game when the Bears broke away, coming out on top with a 79-72 victory over the Bisons. Bridges notched another 20-point game while Boykin had nine assists. Teanna Robinson had 14 rebounds and led the Bears defense very effectively. This win gave the Bears huge momentum as they returned home to face Florida Gulf Coast University and Stetson University.
The Bears faced heartbreak again when they could not fend off the Stetson Hatters. Stetson had five players shoot double digits The Bears stayed within three points until the last fifteen minutes of the game when the Hatters pulled away to a 72-60 victory. Alicia Williams led the Bears offensively with a season-high of 18 points.
On Saturday, Williams and Boykin led the Bears offensively with 20 and 15 points respectively. Boykin led the team with four assists, and Robinson added eight rebounds to the defensive effort. However, this was not enough to secure the win.
In addition to their hard work on the court, the women’s basketball team is highly involved in the community. “We all do a program called Streets to Success where we tutor boys and girls and help them with problems and also share fellowship with them,” says freshman Taylor McClintock.
McClintock is new to the team this year but super excited to be involved in the program. “The team is great, we’re like a big family. We love to have fun, we dance a lot, but we just enjoy each other’s company,” said McClintock.
The team had many goals for the season, but McClintock says that the main goal is to win the Atlantic Sun conference tournament. The Bears will continue to push towards this goal as they travel to USC Upstate on Jan. 23.