There will be some pregame emotions, no doubt, and then its business.
Mercer will honor three seniors on Saturday, including Rutland product Kendra Grant, before taking on East Tennessee State in A-Sun womens basketball at Hawkins Arena.
The Bears are 13-12 overall and 6-8 in A-Sun play, needing wins to assure a second straight winning season while also improving their seeding for the conference tournament.
Theyre currently in fifth place among tournament-eligible teams, 1½ games behind tied-for-fourth USC Upstate and Jacksonville.
The top four teams host first-round games.
ETSU and Northeast grad Maria Bond are 8-16 and 4-9, good for sixth place.
The Bears will honor Grant, a guard, forward Kate Alemann and point guard Sharnea Boykin before the 3 p.m. tipoff.
Because of knee issues, Grant had a rugged ride through her collegiate career.
Her junior year, she redshirted because she had too many surgeries, Gardner said. It was really up in the air whether she was going to be able to even finish her career playing basketball.
But the former Rutland standout and daughter of former Mississippi State basketball player Marcus Grant gutted it out.
Had the knees cooperated, Grant would have long ago passed the 1,000-point mark. Last season was her healthiest at Mercer, and she scored 417 points, earning all-conference honors.
She enters the home finale with 849 points, and would need to average 30 in the next five games (four regular season and at least one A-Sun tournament game) to hit that number.
But -- barring any knee flareups -- shell be a 900-point, 300-rebound performer by the time shes done.
(She) has such passion and heart, just loves the game, Gardner said. Every day. Not just game day. She loves practice, shes got great energy. You wish could have every kid on your team that loves it the way KG does.
Shes just been an inspiration.
Alemann is a New Zealand native who transferred from Mineral Area (Missouri) College.
The 6-3 Alemann has seen more playing time during the past month than at any point in her short career.
Alemann has started nine games in the past month, with three double-digit scoring games and two double-digit rebounding efforts.
Shes had some good games, Mercer head coach Susie Gardner said. I think she has improved in her time here. Hopefully shell finish the year strong.
Boykin has been the ultimate pass-first point guard in her career at Mercer.
Shes third on the school list and sixth in the A-Sun with 606 career assists, still behind former Bears players Rhonda Griffin (614 from 1985-89) and Stephanie Raines (851 from 1988-92).
Boykin is likely to finish third all-time in the conference, passing Florida Internationals Dalma Ivanyl (631, 1995-98).
And she has earned her scholarship, ranking among the top A-Sun players in minutes played per game. Her career average stands at 36.4 minutes in her 96-game career.
Shes had to play a lot more minutes than I had anticipated, Gardner said. Shes just a workhorse. She hasnt scored a ton of points, but shes always run the team.
She has been someone I have been able to count on through her career.