Bridges leads women’s basketball to several key victories

The Mercer women’s basketball team suffered through a tough 74-41 defeat in its Atlantic Sun Conference opener against Stetson on Dec. 31 at Hawkins Arena.
Mercer’s scoreless streak for more than six and a half minutes from the end of the first half through the beginning of the second allowed for Stetson to pull away for the win.
Junior Kendra Grant was the only Mercer player in double figures with 15 points while classmate Sharnea Boykin handed out a game-high eight assists.
Both teams started efficiently on the offensive end, with Stetson taking an early 10-8 advantage. Grant gave the Bears their first lead of the afternoon as she converted an old-fashion three-point play for an 11-10 lead at the 14:59 mark of the first half. 
With 9:00 left, Stetson went in front 26-15 after earning points on four straight possessions. Mercer battled back to close within seven, but the Hatters scored the final nine points of the period to take a 37-21 lead into halftime.
For the entire second half, Stetson dominated. The Hatters’ lead extended to as many as 36 before the final buzzer sounded, ending the game with 74-41 loss for the Bears.
After a tough loss to Stetson, the Bears were hungry for a win against Florida Gulf Coast on Jan. 2 at home. Unfortunately, the Mercer women’s basketball team was not able to overcome the Eagles’ strong offense.
FGCU hit 14 three-pointers and shot 54 percent from beyond the arc to pull away in the second half and secure the win.
Sophomore Precious Bridges scored nine points to lead a struggling Mercer offense that struggled throughout and shot just 31 percent from the field on the evening.
At the start of the game, Mercer was able to get on top as sophomore Alicia Williams drove to the baseline for a bank shot and a 2-0 Bears lead. Just 16 seconds later, the Bears lost their advantage as the Eagles responded with a three point shot.
With just under 14 minutes left in the half, Mercer lost a 9-7 advantage when FGCU knocked down another three-pointer. This shot marked the start of a 14-2 visitor run that lasted for 5:19 of game action, putting the Bears behind by double-digits.
At the halftime buzzer, Mercer trailed the Eagles 31-20.
In the second half, the Bears were unable to stop FGCU. The Eagles went on a 20-6 run in the first eight minutes of the period.
The final score was a disappointing 71-46, the fourth straight loss for the Bears. But Mercer would quickly prove that they could overcome their losing streak as they traveled up I-75 on Jan. 5 to defeat their in-state rival Kennesaw State.
The Bears had four players score in double-figures in the contest to come away with an impressive 71-46 victory at the KSU Convocation Center.
Mercer shot 46 percent from the field and held Kennesaw State to just 25 percent shooting for the game.
Junior Kendra Grant and sophomore Precious Bridges each scored 16 points apiece while senior Ry’van Buchanan poured in a season-high 11 points and sophomore Teanna Robinson racked up a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. This would be her second double-double of the season.
The Bears jumped out to a quick start early on. With 15:37 remaining in the first half, Bridges had put in 6 points, giving the Bears an 11-4 lead.
Kennesaw State managed to cut the Bears lead down to just five before back-to-back baskets by Bridges and sophomore Tabitha Bradshaw. The Bears went into the locker room with a 33-24 halftime lead.
In the second half, the Bears continued to fire on all cylinders scoring the first seven points to take a controlling lead of 40-24.
Mercer held a 20-plus point lead for the majority of the contest, leading them to their first A-Sun Conference win of the season.
The Bears looked to add wins to their conference record by traveling to Jacksonville, Fla. to beat the Dolphins at Veterans Arena on Jan. 12. Senior Ry’van Buchanan was a standout player in the impressive 72-68 comeback over Jacksonville University.
The victory was Mercer’s first road win over Jacksonville since 2006 and equals the 1999-2000 squad for the latest in the season Mercer has had a .500 winning percentage or better.
Buchanan netted a career-high 32 points, the most by a Bear this season. Sophomore Precious Bridges was not far behind tallying 22 points, her fifth 20-plus showing, to go along with two assists and two steals.
The Bears started quickly, using 12 early points by Bridges to take a 14-9 lead with 13:52 remaining in the first half.
Despite the Orange and Black’s hot shooting, Jacksonville stayed within striking distance and eventually took a one-point lead at 29-28, after a fast break lay-in with 4:01 left in the first stanza.
The dolphins extended their lead just before halftime to make the score 40-35.
To start off the second half, both teams continued to score at a high rate. Buchanan scored six early points, keeping the Dolphins lead at five with 13:31 still remaining in the game.
Throughout the second half, both forces continued trading baskets, bringing the score to 61-56 with 6:20, the Bears trailing.  
An old-fashion three-point play by junior Kendra Grant made it just a one possession game, at 63-60, with 5:04 to go in the game.
Finally after a jumper by Buchanan, Mercer took their first lead of the half with a score of 68-67 and a mere 2:13 remaining in the contest.
After a tough comeback fight against the Dolphins, the Mercer women’s basketball team still had one more game on the road to finish. On Jan. 14, the Bears traveled not too far up the street to defeat North Florida 56-43 in the UNF Arena. 
Mercer is now on a three-game winning streak, its second of the season, and is off to its best start in Atlantic Sun Conference play since the 2009-10 season.
To help lead the Bears to another victory, Precious Bridges put in a game-high 23 points, her second straight 20-plus scoring effort of the season while Kendra Grant joined her in double figures with 13 points.
Both teams had a slow start offensively, but the Ospreys were able to jump out to a 12-8 lead with 10:17 left in the first half.
Mercer responded, however, using back-to-back old-fashioned three-point plays by Grant and Bridges to take a 16-15 lead with 7:29 to go in the first half.
Alicia Williams threw up a jumper just before halftime to take a 24-17 lead going into the locker room.
In the second half, Bridges put up four-straight points making the score 36-25 to extend the Orange and Black’s lead with 12:19 remaining in the game.
Bridges once again answered the call with back-to-back mid-range jumpers when it started to look like UNF was going to come back. Bridges put the Bears ahead 48-36 with 5:18 left in the contest.
UNF got no closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
Junior Sharena Boykin handed out six assists while sophomore Teanna collected 11 rebounds, her third-straight game with 10 or more.
The Bears then took to the court at home earning their fourth-straight victory 72-55 against USC Upstate.
Senior Kendra Grant came out hot scoring seven of Mercer’s 11 points in the opening minutes propelling the Bears towards victory.
At halftime Mercer held a 37-16 lead.
In the second half, the visting Spartans were able to outscore the Bears, but their efforts were not enough as they could not come back from the first half deficit.
Precious Bridges led all scorers with 23 points on the day, while Alicia Williams chipped in 15 of her own.
Sharnea Boykin led all players in assists and steals with 9 and 4 respectively.
Susie Gardner and her squad were at home once more this time earning their fifth-straight victory against ETSU.
The first half was highly contested as and Mercer walked into halftime with a narrow 41-37 lead.Mercer came out for the second half on fire outscoring their opponents 38-27 to earn the 79-64 win.
Kendra Grant led all scorers with 24 points while teammate Precious Bridges was not far behind with 23.
Sharnea Boykin dished out 15 assists in the win.
The Bears travel to Nashville on Jan. 26 to take on the Lipscomb Bison.
Game time is scheduled for 5 p.m.