Alicia Williams scored a career-high-tying 21 points to lead the Mercer women’s basketball team to its first Southern Conference win with a 68-51 victory over Western Carolina on Saturday afternoon.
Precious Bridges added 18 points and Kahlia Lawrence 10 for the Bears. Teanna Robinson led Mercer on the boards with seven rebounds.
Mercer improved to 9-8 overall and 1-0 in conference, while Western Carolina dropped to 8-8 overall and 0-1.
“I thought we got off to a great start, evidenced by the 20-point lead at halftime,” Mercer head coach Susie Gardner said. “It was a total team effort (Saturday). Not one player in particular stood out, and everyone contributed. I was glad that everyone got to play and it was a great start to the SoCon season.”
The teams managed only two points in the first four minutes, but Mercer got going en route to a 19-6 lead.
A three-pointer from Makensey Campbell momentarily slowed Mercer down, but Lawrence hit layups on back-to-back possessions and Alicia Williams added a jumper to stretch Mercer’s lead to 25-9 with 6:11 left in the half.
Mercer led 38-18 at halftime. The Bears countered Western Carolina’s 7-4 run early in the second half with an 8-0 stretch.
Mercer visits UNC Greensboro on Monday and returns home on Saturday against Wofford.
GEORGIA COLLEGE (WOMEN) 73,
COLUMBUS STATE 62
Columbus State almost overcame a huge first-half deficit, but Georgia College held on for the upset of the No. 17 and previously unbeaten Cougars in Peach Belt women’s basketball.
Georgia College improved to 7-6 and 3-3, while visiting Columbus State fell to 14-1 and 5-1.
Georgia College took the lead for good at the 13:58 mark in the first half, part of a 31-7 run the Bobcats enjoyed for a nine-minute stretch.
Columbus State trailed 42-29 at halftime, but pulled with one possession twice only for the Bobcats to maintain the lead.
Sophomore guard LaRice Walker scored a team-high 18 points with four rebounds and four assists, while freshman Alyah McGriff added a career-high 15 points off the pine.
Senior Enisha Donley scored 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting, while classmate Belinda Schaafsma posted a 10-point, 11-rebound double-double, the first of her career.
The win was Georgia College’s first over a ranked team since knocking off No. 23 North Georgia in last year’s conference tournament semifinal.
The Bobcats host Clayton State at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
COLUMBUS STATE (MEN) 91
GEORGIA COLLEGE 90
Georgia College had chances in the final seconds to pull off the upset, but Columbus State held on for the road win.
The Bobcats fell to 8-7 and 2-4 while the Cougars are 11-2 and 5-1.
Georgia College led by 18 points in the second half, but an sizzling stretch by the Cougars -- including 9-of-11 on 3s in the second half -- changed that.
Columbus State made its final five 3-point tries, in the final 6:36.
Down six with 2:12 remaining, Georgia College’s Ryan Blumenthal hit a 3, and then Rio McMillan followed a Cougars’ turnover with two free throws with 50 seconds left.
A Columbus State turnover and then missed free throw let left the door open, but the Bobcats couldn’t take advantage.