The Mercer women’s basketball team returned to Hawkins Arena after a long road trip. They fought off a sluggish start, foul trouble and a good UNC Greensboro team 80-57 to stay undefeated in the Southern Conference as senior Kahlia Lawrence eclipsed 2,000 points for her career.
The first quarter saw the Bears lose their bite offensively when leading scorer Lawrence went to the bench with two fouls and 7:28 remaining on the clock. With less than two minutes in the quarter, they were behind 20-11 and closed on a 7-2 run to end the quarter down just four points 22-18.
The Mercer bench held their own in the second quarter while three of the five starters sat significant minutes with two fouls. The Bears went into halftime tied 30-30.
In the third quarter, the starters were able to play their game, which allowed the Bears to get on track offensively. Mercer was able to outscore Greensboro 24-16 in the quarter. Lawrence accounted for 14 of Mercer’s points.
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The fourth quarter proved to be a typical fourth quarter for the women. They continued to score which put pressure on the opponent. They eventually stretched the lead to a distance that Greensboro was never able to reel back in.
With 4:31 remaining in the third quarter, Mercer was losing 44-42. From that point, they closed the quarter on a 12-2 run. Lawrence scored 10 of the 12 points and the Bears never looked back.
Three who mattered
Sydni Means: Another game, another 38 minutes for Means. She also continued her flawless play at the point guard position. She delivered 11 assists and didn't turn the ball over once.
Kahlia Lawrence: After not scoring a point in the first half due to foul trouble, Lawrence waited until the last few minutes of the third quarter to get on track offensively. Once she began scoring she didn't stop. She finished the game with 23 points and also eclipsed 2,000 points for her career.
Linnea Rosendal: The junior showed the type of form that made her Freshman of the Year a couple seasons ago. She was a major reason why Mercer was able to even things up with UNC Greensboro going into halftime. She finished with 13 points in only 15 minutes.
They said it
Head coach Susie Gardner on the team's start: “It wasn't the start we anticipated with Kahlia, Rachel and Amanda all getting two fouls in the first quarter.”
On the bench play: “I was really, really proud of our bench. We had 33 points from our bench. I thought Ally (Welch) did some good things, Alex (Williams) obviously played well, and Linnea hit shots. It was probably our best overall team effort of the year.”
Kahlia Lawrence on diversifying her shot selection: “Lately my position coach has been working with me on shooting different types of shots and getting to the rim and making different types of layups. So I think it's what I've been practicing and I'm letting it translate over to the game.
The Mercer women will back in action at 2 p.m. Saturday against Western Carolina.