Women's basketball struggles in early non-conference games

The Mercer women’s basketball team recently had four very pivotal non-conference matchups. The team was looking to get some valuable playing experience playing against some very tough opponents before going into conference play.
First up for the Lady Bears was Davidson. Last year’s Atlantic Sun “Freshman of the Year” Briana Williams led all Mercer scoring with 18 points. Unfortunately, the effort for Williams and the rest of her team just was not enough as they lost 75-60. Even though they lost, there were some signs of brilliance on the court for Mercer. After a lackluster first half effort from the bears, they came out of the locker room looking to vastly improve and that’s what they did. Mercer outscored the Davidson Wildcats in the second half 39-36. Freshman guard Precious Bridges scored 12 points while freshman Alicia Williams and Alex Phillips had seven points each. Junior Sharmesia Smith pulled down seven rebounds off the boards. Despite the loss, Head Coach Susie Gardner was pleased with the effort. “We fought the entire game,” e said Gardner. “We’re going to be fine; we just have some fine-tuning to do.  It will take some of these bumps for us to find our way,” she added.
The next match for the bears was against Georgia Southern at home. This proved to be an exciting contest, with both teams constantly battling with each other. Each team had the lead at different points in the game and it came down to a last minute buzzer-beater to decide the winner. Sadly, the Bears were not on the winning end. Georgia Southern won the game 57-55. Precious Bridges led all scoring for the Bears with 14 points. Sharmesia Smith pulled down an impressive 11 rebounds.
Next up for the Bears was the highly talented squad from UCF. From very early on it was UCF’s game. The UCF Knight’s offense was too much to handle. The Bears’ effort came up short as they lost 72-43. Mercer was lead once again by Briana Williams with 14 points in the losing effort. Ry’Van Buchanan was second on the team in points with eight.
The Bears were once again on the road this time traveling to play another talented squad in Wake Forest. Mercer had to play without star player Briana Williams who went down with a knee injury in the first minute of play. Williams’ absence was surely missed as the Bears were blown out in the match by a score of 90-44. Coach Gardner was far from happy with the effort. “Right now, we’re not just coaching basketball,” Gardner said. “We’re having to correct the same errors over and over.  I’m a little concerned about our shooting, but some things that go on behind the scenes – the things that will take this program to a championship level – aren’t there quite yet,” Gardner added.
Coach Gardner and the Bears look to improve upon a not-so-great start as they head into conference play.