The Mercer women’s basketball season is underway as the Bears competed in an exhibition game against Northwood on Thursday, Oct. 31, in Hawkins Arena. Junior Briana Williams was one of five players in double figures for the team, leading to the 108-61 win.
After missing an entire season due to an ACL injury last year, Williams has been more than ready to get back on the court.
“I’ve been watching from the sideline for a season and learning. Now I just want to contribute to that same success the team had last year,” said Williams.
Williams also admitted that she was nervous going into the game.
“I was definitely nervous that I was going to be rusty and just nervous in general; I had butterflies. But after a few times up and down it felt like old times, I felt at home.”
Williams proved to herself and her team that she was far from rusty. Along with her game-high 28 points scored on Thursday night, Williams shot 10-of-15 from the field, 3-of-5 from beyond the arc and added seven assists in her first game action since Feb. 25, 2012.
In the 2012 season, Williams was named Atlantic Sun Player of the Week on two different occasions. She also led the A-Sun and was ranked 46th in the nation with an impressive 17.5 points per game scoring average. Having Williams back on the court this season will help the Bears be an even more offensive threat.
In the 2013 season, the Bears finished with a winning conference record of 13-5 and lost in the semifinals of the A-Sun Conference Championship. This performance was a turnaround from the previous 2012 season, but the Bears have made it clear through their offseason workouts and practices that they will not settle for anything less than a championship win.
“Throughout the offseason, we’ve been competing aggressively. Now were just taking one day at a time and working hard and giving it all we have,” said junior Precious Bridges. “This year expectation for the team is to stay together and always have each other’s backs. With that, we really want to win the A-Sun Championship.”
Along with Williams, junior Precious Bridges will also play a large role on this year’s squad. Last season, she won the A-Sun scoring title by averaging 16.8 points per game.
Bridges explained that she thinks that the team has really great chemistry this season that should help guide them to success.
“We went to Ghana for three weeks and that helped us get to know each other more not just on the court but also off the court. One expectation this year is for the team to stay together and always have each other’s back,” said Bridges.
This season, the Bears will host 14 home games along with match-ups against SEC and Big Ten members, Georgia and Wisconsin. They will start up regular season play on Friday, Nov. 8, against Western Carolina in Hawkins arena. Game time is set for 5 p.m.