Women's basketball's losing streak hits 10

Garret McDowell

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The current losing streak for the Mercer Bears Women’s Basketball team hits 10 games, including seven straight in conference play. The Bears are now 3-17 overall, with a 1-8 mark in the Atlantic Sun.

KSU 75, Mercer 51
The Bears started their three-game home stand with a matchup against in-state rival Kennesaw State, but it did not go the way the Bears would have liked. After trailing by just a point at the half, the Bears looked to be in good shape coming out of the locker room. However, after a tense seven minutes in the second half, the Owls exploded on a 14-0 run in the next five minutes. The Bears went 0-for-8 from the field in that stretch while six different Owls scored. The Bears never answered, because they would find themselves trailing by as much as 23 points in the second half. Kennesaw State Coach Colby Tilley lamented her team’s first half performance, but praised the second half composure and patience, saying “We were forcing things a little bit too much at the beginning of the game, and so as a result we turned the ball over a lot. [So in the second half] We were more patient on offense, and just let the game come to us, which was something we talked about at the half, and it paid off for us.” Mercer’s Briana Williams had a team-high 17 points, and Precious Bridges added 11 points. Mercer shot just 25 percent from the floor, compared to the Owls’ 51 percent.

Jacksonville 76, Mercer 65
The next game on the schedule pitted the Jacksonville Dolphins against the Bears. A hotly-contested second half was not enough to overcome an 11 point halftime deficit for the Bears. Sharmesia Smith’s second career double-double helped matters, scoring 10 and collecting 15 rebounds. Briana Williams’ 26 points were not enough either. This was the fourth game this season that saw Williams eclipse the quarter-century mark in points this season. Precious Bridges also had 14 points. Mercer’s 20 turnovers killed momentum often. This snapped Jacksonville’s losing streak on the road that dated back 14 games to January 2011. Jacksonville coach Jill Dunn was “happy that we got our first road win…we played hard and found a way to earn the win.” They were led by Jade Cargill with 21 points and 12 rebounds. She helped lead an offensive charge that was buoyed by an overwhelming advantage in points in the paint for Jacksonville over the Bears, 32-20.

UNF 49, Mercer 39
The Bears closed out their home stand with another loss, this one to North Florida. A poor second half performance reversed a one-point lead for the Bears at the break. A 10-2 run to end the game was all North Florida could do to pull away. Jasmine Blakemore and Briana Williams each had eight points to lead the Bears. North Florida outrebounded Mercer significantly by a margin 52-38. However, this loss outshines the impressive defensive performance by the Bears, their best all season. They allowed just 15 field goals, held their opponents to just 49 points and limited UNF to shoot just 30 percent from the floor. The Bears need to take that into the latter half of the season if they are to make the postseason tournament. The Ospreys have themselves in a good place in the conference standings because of this win over Mercer.

The women’s basketball team is next in action on Jan. 26, where they are on the road at Florida Gulf Coast. Two days later, they play at Stetson. The Bears are next in action at home when they play East Tennessee State on Feb. 2, followed by a game two days later at home versus USC Upstate.

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