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Bears sweep road trip, remain undefeated in SoCon

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Bears sweep road trip, remain undefeated in SoCon

Bears senior forward Amanda Thompson drives into the lane for a tough layup attempt. Photo by Christian Hartley.

Bears senior forward Amanda Thompson drives into the lane for a tough layup attempt. Photo by Christian Hartley.

Bears senior forward Amanda Thompson drives into the lane for a tough layup attempt. Photo by Christian Hartley.

Bears senior forward Amanda Thompson drives into the lane for a tough layup attempt. Photo by Christian Hartley.

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After a rockier than usual start to the season, Mercer women’s basketball seems to have finally found its groove again.

A close, last-minute victory over the Western Carolina Catamounts tested the limits of Mercer’s perseverance and toughness. After leading by as much as 20, Mercer saw their led dwindle away over the game’s final quarter.

A few missed free-throws gave the Catamounts an opportunity in the final seconds, but a misfired three-pointer as time expired gave the Bears the victory.

Two days later, Mercer traveled to Greensboro, North Carolina for a matchup with the UNCG Spartans.

The Bears outscored the Spartans (7-12, 1-3) by 26 points through three quarters, but UNCG didn’t go away easy, outscoring Mercer 28-15 in the final period. But in the end, Mercer was just too far ahead and got it done in a 71-58 victory.

The road trip wins were led by strong play from seniors KeKe Calloway and Amanda Thompson, the Bears are now 3-0 in Southern Conference play, including 20-0 over the last two seasons.

Quick Takes

1 → Calloway’s resurgence

One of the biggest drivers of Mercer’s undefeated start to SoCon play has been the resurgent performance of senior guard and team leader KeKe Calloway.

2 → Titus to the rescue

During the road trip, Shannon Titus averaged 9.5 points per game, six rebounds, 2.5 assists and two steals. While the numbers don’t jump off the stat sheet, it’s the kind of play that I had been calling for earlier in the season. The sophomore guard must continue to be aggressive, as she is setting the tone for the rest of her team along the way.

3 → Consistency, consistency, consistency

If this Bears team is going to return to the NCAA Division I tournament for the second consecutive year, they must be more consistent. An undefeated start in conference play is an accomplishment, but it would be foolish to ignore that the Bears almost blew two 20-point leads in back-to-back games. A win is a win nonetheless, but Mercer needs consistency if it’s going to turn this into a special season.

Player of the Weekend: KeKe Calloway

  • Calloway averaged 21.5 points per game over the two-game road swing, a team-high
  • She also averaged 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals
  • Calloway scored 17 of her 24 points against UNCG in the game’s final quarter to ice her team’s victory

Notable Quotables

Head coach Susie Gardner on the blown lead versus WCU…

“We were up 19 at halftime and we challenged them to play better defensively. We were outscored 39-22 in the second half. We had the opportunity to put a team away and let them come back and tie up the game.”

 

 

Gardner on her team’s fast start, slow finish in UNCG victory…

“I was really pleased with our first three quarters. The fourth quarter we let up and they scored 28 points. We have to figure out a way to finish games.

 

 

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Bears sweep road trip, remain undefeated in SoCon