Welcome home, Mercer women’s basketball.
Your welcoming present? A matchup with archrival Chattanooga, also the only other undefeated team in the SoCon. After splitting a two-game weekend road trip, the Bears returned home to Hawkins Arena eager to secure their place as the top team in the conference.
The first half saw Mercer (11-7, 4-0) lead comfortably for almost the entire 20 minutes, outscoring the Mocs (8-11, 3-1) in both the first and second periods to take a 36-29 lead into halftime.
The third quarter was dead even. The Bears and Mocs tied, sending the teams into the fourth quarter locked in a close game.
After Chattanooga tied the game early on, a quick 8-0 run by the Bears put them up 60-50 with five minutes to go, their largest lead since early in the second quarter.
In the end, the lead the Bears built was enough to carry them to a 65-58 victory.
(1) Role players still not producing
One of the biggest issues that Mercer head coach Susie Gardner has highlighted has been the need for additional players, outside of their traditional go-to players, to step up and contribute. Thursday’s game was not the game that started happening, as Mercer was outscored 39-6 by the Mocs. That must change if Mercer is going to turn this season into something truly special.
(2) Amanda Thompson is an exceptional athlete
Senior Amanda Thompson, named the SoCon Player of the Week multiple times, has been showing her talent recently. Thompson 11 points and pulling down 16 rebounds, a massive haul for the 5’7 forward. The senior team leader has done it all this year for a Mercer team that has needed it. She will need to keep up her stellar play for her team to keep their winning streak alive.
(3) Quick turnaround
Mercer has a quick turnaround this weekend, as they host ETSU this upcoming Saturday at Hawkins Arena. Mercer will need to rest up, get healthy and be ready for a feisty, talented Bucs team. The Bears defeated ETSU in the SoCon Championship game last season, so the Bucs will be out for revenge. The game tips off at 2 p.m. and will air live on ESPN3.
Player of the Game: Shannon Titus (No. 21)
Titus scored a career-high 24 points tonight, breaking her previous record of 17 points set earlier this season
The 5’11 guard secured nine rebounds, including four on the offensive glass, which ties a career high for both stats
In the fourth quarter, Titus was aggressive as ever and made a few huge shots to ice the game over for her team
(1) Head coach Susie Gardner on getting a win over a very good Mocs team…
“Well, it was a big win for us. Chattanooga has been the team that we have been battling with over the last few years. They are very talented, and they know how to win. We played really well in the first half, and it was a tight game in the second half. It was very important for us to start strong the way we did.”
(2) Gardner talks on the impressive game from Shannon Titus…
“Shannon is continually improving. We’re confident in Shannon. She was feeling it tonight. She was attacking the rim. She did some really, really nice things. Not just offensively, but defensively. She and Keke [Calloway] both played exceptional defense.”
(3) Titus on her career night…
“It felt great. My teammates were cheering me on. They all believed in me, and my coaches believed in me. They said just keep being aggressive, and you’ll knock more shots down.”