Mercer’s women’s basketball team got their first road win of the season on Nov. 25, defeating the High Point Lady Panthers 75-67. Sophomore Briana Williams put on a clinic as she scored 33 points while contributing two rebounds, one assist, two steals and one block. Freshman guard Alicia Williams also added 13 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals. The Lady Bears shot 44.4 percent from long range, converting four of nine attempts.
After the victory against High Point, Mercer opened up conference play in Nashville, TN, against the Lipscomb Lady Bison on Thursday, Dec. 1. The Lady Bison defeated the Lady Bears 80-70. Mercer’s offense was lead by Freshman Precious Bridges. Bridges contributed 18 points, three rebounds and two assists off of the bench. Briana Williams led the Bears’ starters with 14 points, one rebound, two steals and one block. Junior Ry’Van Buchanan also contributed a double-double, with 11 points, 12 rebounds and four steals. Tied 35-35 at half-time, Mercer out rebounded Lipscomb and had more second chance points than the Lady Bison. Additionally, the Lady Bears had 12 fewer turnovers. Lipscomb, however, shot 50 percent to Mercer’s 33.3 and outscored them 45-35 in the second half to come away with the victory.
Like the men’s team, the Lady Bears continued their conference play on Saturday against Belmont. Belmont made it to the semi-finals of the 2011 Atlantic Sun tournament before losing to Stetson by two points. Stetson would go on to defeat Jacksonville in the finals. At half-time Belmont led Mercer by one point, despite Mercer shooting 42 percent from the field and 33 percent from three-point distance. In the second half, however, the Lady Bears would outscore the Lady Bruins 36-32 to claim the 64-61 win. Bridges would lead Mercer in scoring for a second straight game, though this time it was as a starter. Bridges would finish with 20 points, all of which came in the second half. Buchanan would add 14 points of her own, while Sophomore Jasmine Blackmore added 13 points off of the bench. Buchanan and Blackmore also contributed six rebounds each. Mercerbears.com caught up with Coach Gardner, and she had this to say: “At halftime we made an adjustment because we saw a scenario where we thought we could get Precious a mismatch. She made great decisions getting to the rim and drawing fouls.”
Coach Gardner was also proud of the way her team rebounded from the loss at Lipscomb, saying, “on Thursday at Lipscomb we played so poorly…it was a long Friday…it was so important that we were able to turn it around. We made strides today, now we’ve got to quit taking steps back.” Splitting the opening games of conference play bring the Lady Bears’ record to 3-6, 1-1 in conference play.