The good news for Mercer is that Precious Bridges returned Thursday back after appendix surgery.
The bad news is that she wasnt back to her normal self and the Bears lost at home to Northern Kentucky.
Mercer will try to get back on track when it hosts Lipscomb on Saturday in A-Sun womens action at Hawkins Arena.
The Bears fell to 11-10 overall and 4-6 in conference play with Thursdays 72-64 loss to third-place Northern Kentucky.
Bridges played 16 minutes -- about half of her normal time -- after missing five games because of appendix surgery and had four points and three assists. But the Bears couldnt get enough scoring to help Briana Williams (17 points) and Kendra Grant (15) overcome the deep-shooting Norse, who had four players in double figures.
Lipscomb bears one resemblance to Northern Kentucky. The Bisons actually shoot more 3s and are only a little less accurate (32.8-29.9 percent). But Lipscomb is in the bottom 10 percent nationally in field goal percentage defense, rebound margin, scoring defense and 3-point defense. Lipscomb is in the A-Sun cellar, winless in 10 conference games and 3-18 overall.
And the Bisons havent won in 2014, suffering through an 11-game losing streak that started Dec. 29 when Tennessee rolled to a 110-42 win. Lipscomb has been pretty close five times to breaking the streak with single-digit losses. The latest came in Lipscombs most recent game, Thursday nights 88-79 loss at Kennesaw State.
Ashley Southern had 13 points and 10 rebounds in the game for her 17th double-double of the season. The 6-foot-1 sophomore from Alabama averages 15.5 points and 12.2 rebounds per game, good for eighth in the nation.
Danay Fothergill leads Lipscomb with 19.9 points, while Chandler Cooper adds 14.5 and Sara Bliss 10.4. Fothergill or Southern -- a transfer from Chattanooga -- has been Lipscombs leading scorer in all but six games, and Southern has been the top rebounder in every game.
The Bisons have three players from Georgia: guard Maya Dillard of Buford, forward Elise Spann of Allatoona and forward ONeisha Smith of Chapel Hill.
Mercer won the first meeting, 79-72 a little less than a month ago.