After dismantling Howard University 70-44 at Hawkins Arena in their last game before Christmas, Mercer women’s basketball coach Susie Gardner said she was looking forward to the team’s five-game road trip that followed Christmas.
“I’m okay with being on the road because we can have basketball 24/7,” Gardner said. “We are not in class; they don’t have any studying to do.”
Apparently the Bears used that time wisely. Three days after Christmas they traveled to North Carolina and pulled off a come-from-behind victory over the Tar Heels. Mercer was trailing UNC 78-64 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter they outscored the Heels 33-8 to claim their most impressive victory to date, 97-86.
The day before New Year’s Eve, they used another strong fourth quarter to pull away from the Charlotte 49ers. The Bears extended a 3-point lead after three quarters to 16 points by the end of the game.
Four days into the new year they displayed a dominant performance to open conference play against Wofford with a 71-46 victory. Mercer did not lose a quarter to the home Terriers in that game, outscoring them by 13 in the first quarter, 2 in the second, 2 in the third, and 8 in the fourth.
Two days later Mercer used a strong first and fourth quarter to run its conference record to 2-0 against Furman 86-64. The Bears’ 25-12 first quarter and 24-15 fourth quarter ensured their 22-point victory.
In their final road game of the stretch, dominant second and third quarters allowed the Bears to defeat Samford 73-59. Mercer outscored the Bulldogs 25-13 in the second quarter and 20-13 in the third.
When the ladies return home to Hawkins Arena tonight they will do so with a few impressive feats in tow. They have traveled more than 12,000 miles on this trip. They have visited three different states and five different cities. They have spent 24 days away from Hawkins Arena.
They have also collected a few awards and statistical achievements in their time away from home:
They have improved their unbeaten streak from eight to 13 games in a row.
They have beaten all five opponents by double digits.
They have won all games by an average of 17.6 points per game.
They have scored an average of 83.4 points per game.
They have allowed 65.8 points per game.
Keke Calloway hit an NCAA record 12 3-pointers in a game.
Calloway hit 25 total three pointers.
Kahlia Lawrence averaged 25.2 points per game.
Lawrence was named SoCon player of the month for December.
Sydni Means accumulated 59 assists and only seven turnovers.
Lawrence (twice) and Calloway were named SoCon player of the week.
Means was named Senior CLASS Award candidate.
The ladies return home Thursday night with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m. They welcome UNC-Greensboro, which has won its last two conference games. UNCG has allowed an average of only 59 points per game in its three conference games this season.
Mercer will enjoy two home games before traveling to East Tennessee State for the Bears’ showdown with the number two team in the conference January 25.