This year’s Mercer Women’s Basketball season was one to remember. With four decorated seniors and a slew of inexperienced freshmen, the team debuted Mercer’s reign in the Southern Conference with class. Although their season ended in the semifinal of the Southern Conference Championship, the team experienced a number of huge highs throughout the season.
Because of its stellar performance in the 2013-2014 season, the team was invited to participate in the Preseason WNIT. In the tournament, the team won two out of the three games they played. Precious Bridges, a standout guard for the Bears, recorded over 20 points in all three games while freshman guard Kahlia Lawrence started to display her serious competitiveness as a player.
After their preseason tournament, the Bears continued their success with wins over both Tennessee Tech University and Saint Louis University. In their double overtime win against Saint Louis, Bridges recorded a career-high of 43 points, which consisted of 18 field goals and six three-pointers. She also recorded nine rebounds, five assists and a steal. Alicia Williams, a senior guard for the team, notched a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
As the season continued, the Bears continued to impress with back-to-back wins over Georgia Southern University and the University of Alabama. Lawrence and Bridges continued to lead the Bears offensively with a combined 30 points against the Tide and 32 points against the Eagles.
The Bears returned home after their big wins to be defeated by in-state rivals Kennesaw State University and former A-Sun Conference members Belmont University. They continued their losing streak on the road with losses from the College of Charleston, Jacksonville State University and the University of North Florida.
After the five-game losing streak, the Bears bounced back with a five-game winning streak, which also began their Southern Conference schedule. The team started its conference slate with a 3-0 record before dropping the next three, giving it the record of 3-3. The Bears once again bounced back going on a five-game winning streak, which included a overtime win at Furman University. In one of the highest-scoring games of the season, Lawrence recorded a career high of 24 points against the Paladins, while Bridges added 22 points to the Bears’ 88 points overall.
Although the team lost its next two conference games, the Bears won their last home game, which was also Senior Night for the team. In her last game in Hawkins Arena, senior Alicia Williams scored her career-high of 24 points, while Bridges added 21 points. The win earned the team a No. 3 seed going into the Southern Conference Tournament.
The Bears opened their tournament play with a 75-54 win against the Wofford Terriers. Lawrence tallied a total of 16 points while teammate Alex Williams notched her third double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The team’s championship run came to an end with a 66-56 loss against the East Tennessee State Buccaneers in the semifinals of the tournament. Bridges added 24 points to the loss while Lawrence added 10.
Although its season ended early, the Mercer Women’s Basketball Team had a year to remember. Both Lawrence and Bridges were recognized for their stellar performances throughout the season. Lawrence received the women’s basketball Freshman of the Year award while Bridges received the Player of the Year award for the Southern Conference.
While the team is losing four fearless leaders, it seems as though the Bears have a great deal to look forward to in upcoming years.