The Mercer women made history Saturday with a 58-47 win over UNC Greensboro at Hawkins Arena.
The Bears earned their third straight 20-win season, something Mercer had never accomplished as an NCAA Division I program (and only has accomplished only once before from the 1973-74 season to 1975-76). Mercer improves to 20-5 overall and 9-2 in the Southern Conference, while UNC Greensboro drops to 14-12 and 5-6.
Mercer wrapped up its home schedule with a 12-2 record at Hawkins Arena as it heads out on the road for three games to finish the regular season.
Three who mattered
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Kahlia Lawrence: The junior made 4-of-12 shots from the floor to finish with 11 points, and she added 12 rebounds.
Linnea Rosendal: The sophomore came off the bench and had three of the Bears’ five 3-pointers to finish with nine points.
Alex Williams: The junior had nine points and seven rebounds off the bench.
Mercer led 14-10 after the first quarter but dominated the second quarter with a 19-6 advantage for a 33-16 lead at the half. The Bears’ lead remained in double digits the entire second half.
More strong defense: Mercer continued its strong defensively play of late by holding the Spartans to 16 first-half points. UNC Greensboro shot 35.8 percent from the floor (19-of-53) for the game.
Key reserves: Mercer outscored UNC Greensboro 24-10 in bench points.
Senior day: After the game, the Bears honored their lone senior, Ciarra Edwards, who spent two seasons with the program after transferring from Shelton State Community College.
Owning the series: Mercer is 8-0 all time against UNC Greensboro.
They said it
Lawrence on another 20-win season: “That’s really cool for us. I’m proud of our team for reaching that this season. We’ve been playing really hard, and it’s a good accomplishment.”
Mercer head coach Susie Gardner on her team’s first-half defense: “I don’t think about it until I go back into the locker room, but a couple of games ago, it was 15 points. I think they had 16 points (Saturday) at halftime. Really pleased with our defensive effort. Little disappointed with the way we came out in the third quarter. Obviously, they beat us in the second half, and we’ve got to be a little more mature in terms of our response and trying not to let teams back in the game.”
Gardner on 20 wins: “I hadn’t really thought about it, actually. One thing is you play more games now than you used to in the ’80s, so that kind of helps people get to 20. Main thing we’re trying to do is to finish out these next three road games, and I think we’re getting better. I think the program is going in the right direction. I’m hoping that we’re learning when we make errors in games, which we made some (Saturday), that we’re learning from them, and we won’t let it happen again. It’s important that we finish out the year strong.”
Mercer travels to Wofford at 7 p.m. on Thursday.