Lindsey Lowrie was apparently ready for the lights, refs and some fans. Or maybe not.
”I was so nervous,” she said. “It’s been a year. I was so excited”
She still has her touch.
The redshirt freshman from Bay Village, Ohio, buried three 3-pointers in the opening minutes of the second half and finished with team-high 19 points points to lead Mercer to an 80-63 win Thursday night in the Coaches vs. Cancer women’s basketball exhibition at the University Center.
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“That’s her game,” Mercer head coach Janell Jones said. “That’s what she’s been doing in practice.”
Senior LaToya Jackson added 13 points, and Courtney Ford turned in a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds as nine Bears got into the scoring column.
Junior Mandi Dudish led the Bobcats with 20 points, while Tammeshia Law added 11 and former Jones County standout Chimere Jordan 10.
Mercer connected on 43.4 percent overall and 43.5 percent of its 3-pointers, but Lowrie was 6-of-11 overall and 5-of-9 on 3-pointers.
“I missed my first shot,” she said. “Kind of bricked it off the side. Once I got a sweat going, I felt more comfortable.”
GCSU has another exhibition with the Bobcats visiting Auburn on Sunday. They open the season Nov. 16 at home against Lenoir-Rhyne.
Mercer opens the season at Oklahoma in a week and has three more road games before the home and A-Sun opener against Lipscomb on Dec. 3.
Jordan, who is coming back from her second ACL injury, started and missed a double-double by a rebound.
“I was looking for 18 minutes,” GCSU head coach John Carrick said, before looking at the stat sheet. “Hmm, 28? She was a little tired, but that’s good.
“And she shot 15 times? That’s good. She’s been a little shy.”
Candice Clark, a senior from Houston County, added eight points and eight rebounds. GCSU’s effort was slowed by the loss of senior forward Antoinette Reames with an ankle injury at the 16:28 mark of the first half. Carrick said she’s day to day.
GCSU showed a comfort zone in launching some long 3-pointers, but the Bobcats hit on 3-of-14 in the first half and finished 7-of-30. Carrick wasn’t as unhappy with that as he was with what he saw when Mercer had the ball.
“You’ve heard of the matador defense?” he said. “Probably one of the worst fundamental games I’ve had a team play. Defensively, I don’t know that I’ve had anybody play as bad as that.”
The Bears got a few nine-point leads in the first half, but the Bobcats kept the margin in single digits. Two free throws by Dudish got GCSU started on a 7-0 run to pull within 25-23 with 3:13 left in the half, but Mercer regained some sharpness for a 34-25 halftime lead, getting a bucket with two seconds left from freshman Amber Coleman off a nice pass from Lacy Ramon.
Lowrie took care of that inability to get a double-figure lead, burying a 3-pointer less than 20 seconds into the second half. Ford added a bomb and Lowrie hit two straight, and suddenly the Bears were in control with a 46-29 lead at the 16:40 mark of the second half.
The Bobcats got out of sync and struggled from the floor as the Bears pulled away. Through the first nine minutes of the second half, GCSU made only 29.4 percent from the floor and Mercer hit 57.1 percent in the second half.
“Our energy was really great,” said Jones, who was unhappy losing the rebound battle by one. “It gives the girls confidence, but it also gives them a reason to get back in the gym and work harder.”