The Mercer women’s basketball team was on the wrong side of a 25-12 second quarter and they were never able to make up that difference as they lost their first game of the season to Georgia 72-54.
The Lady Bears dominated or played the Lady Bulldogs even in some statistical categories. They forced 16 turnovers, stole the ball seven times, while only giving it away 12. They held their own on the boards against a much bigger and more physical Georgia front line. They were even 11-12 from the free throw line.
Unfortunately the Lady Bulldogs exploited their offensive advantage on the inside and made timely three pointers that proved too much for Mercer to combat. In the fourth quarter with Mercer pressing, Georgia was able to put their foot on the gas and produce a 27-point quarter. When the final whistle blew the Lady Bears walked away with an 18-point defeat.
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In the first quarter, Mercer seemed to frustrate Georgia with their defensive activity. The result was a 12-7 Lady Bear lead.
In the second quarter the Lady Bulldogs settled down and began to get the ball inside. That opened up the three point line and allowed them to connect on three of their five long distance makes.
By halftime they had turned a five point first quarter deficit into an eight point lead. Mercer was never able to reel Georgia back in after the break.
Three who mattered
Sydni Means - The guard played very tough defense on the Bulldogs ball handlers and filled the stat sheet. She accounted for seven points, seven assists, two steals, and three rebounds.
Kahlia Lawrence - Despite smothering defense by the visiting Bulldogs the guard was able to pour in a team high 19 points. That included a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line.
Alex Williams - The forward was effective off the bench accounting for nine points, six rebounds, two steals and an assist.
This schedule is challenging.
The Lady Bears non-conference schedule is more difficult this year as they hope to prepare themselves better for post season play. They have already played Central Florida and Georgia and will also take on Western Kentucky and North Carolina. Clearly they seem to be preparing themselves for a run to the NCAA tournament after two straight season of coming up just short of the goal.
They said it.
Head coach Susie Gardner on holding down Georgia’s post players.
“Actually we held their best player to eight points. Robinson’s a WNBA player. I was really proud of our post players defensively and offensively.”
On giving up the three point shot to Georgia.
“Georgia had not shown great three point shooting percentage up to this point. They hit a three going into halftime, that was a kind of blow, then they hit a three coming out the second half. They didn’t hit a lot of threes but they hit opportunistic threes.”
On scheduling tougher non-conference opponents this season.
“This is why we did it. Last season we played three non-division one schools and what does that do? You win by a lot and it makes me have more wins and then you lose the championship game by two. So my philosophy this season, I told my scheduling coach that I wanted the best schedule that we could get and we’ve got a really, really difficult schedule.”
Mercer will take on Western Kentucky and VCU in the GSU Thanksgiving Classic on Nov. 25 and 27. Game times are six and four o’clock respectively.