After what was the toughest home weekend for the Mercer women’s basketball team yet, the Bears went on the road and fell to 1-21 overall, 1-12 in the conference. Following the heartbreakers against North Florida and Jacksonville, the Bears had to travel to Kennesaw State, USC-Upstate and East Tennessee State before heading back home to play Campbell. Having to play three of the toughest four teams in the conference in the midst of one of the worst losing streaks in school history was not how Mercer saw themselves entering the home stretch of the season.
Kennesaw State 79, Mercer 56
In-state rival Kennesaw State welcomed Mercer on Jan. 26. Mercer trailed by twelve at the half, and never recovered from Kennesaw’s Ashley Holliday’s nine straight points in the middle of the first half. The Owls turned a close five-point game into a 30-15 lead with 5:11 to play in the opening half. Despite a late run from the Bears, Kennesaw ended the first half on a 6-0 run. The closest that Mercer ever got from there was seven, but a 15-0 run from the Owls finished Mercer. There were a few good signs from Mercer. They outrebounded KSU 46-41. Alex Phillips added a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards. The dynamic freshman duo of Briana Williams and Brittnee Hazel combined for 33 points, but it would not stop the home team from their third straight win.
USC-Upstate 74, Mercer 63
Three Bears were in double figures, but a weak second half left Mercer the losers on Jan. 29. A 30-26 halftime advantage was undone by shoddy rebounding, despite freshman Rebecca Clanton’s career-high 12 points, freshman Sharnea Boykin’s career-high 11 assists and Williams and Hazel combining for thirty points. Mercer led by one as late as the thirteen-minute mark of the second half, but successive runs by the Spartans were too much. Tee’Ara Copney and Chelsea McMillan scored 35 of the 74. Also, Mercer was dominated at the boards, only getting 32 rebounds to USC-Upstate’s 55.
East Tennessee State 100, Mercer 62
Mercer allowed a hundred for the second time this season, and it again resulted in a blowout loss. The Lady Bucs were too much to handle, despite Hazel scoring 16 points. It was ETSU’s fifth straight win. Alex Phillips and Sharmesia Smith each added 10 points to the box score for Mercer. Despite a better second half performance compared to recent games, Mercer was completely manhandled by a superior team in the first half, trailing by 25 at the break (52-27). ETSU converted 40 of their 70 attempts from the field for the game and they outrebounded the Bears 41-25.
Campbell 77, Mercer 64
Despite an astounding performance from Briana Williams, Mercer’s return home was just another loss. Williams scored 17 in the final eleven minutes of the game, but it would not be enough in her third 30-point game this season. Mercer trailed in each half and would as close as seven late in the closing half, but it would be futile. Campbell’s streaky shooters simply outperformed Mercer starting five. Sharmesia Smith would add 11 rebounds for the Bears in the losing effort.
The Mercer Bears hope to turn their season around against in-state rival Kennesaw State in the University Center on Thursday, Feb. 10, Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday, Feb. 12, and finish the homestand against Stetson on Monday, Feb. 14.