Heading into the stretch run in its first Southern Conference season, the Mercer women’s basketball team appears to be finding its rhythm.
After going through a three-game losing streak, the Bears have won three straight, beating Western Carolina 82-60 on Monday night at Hawkins Arena.
Mercer (14-11, 9-3 conference) returns to action Saturday at Furman.
The Paladins started the Bears’ three-game slide last month with a 58-55 decision.
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“Our defense was pretty good to start the game, and then (Briana Williams) came off the bench and gave us a huge offensive spark,” Mercer head coach Susie Gardner said. “That gave us a little bit of a lead. Western came back and cut it to 10, and they were hitting 3s. But our defense was good for most of the game, so that was good to see.”
The Bears started strong Monday and never really slowed down, scoring the game’s first 11 points. Mercer led 39-25 at the half and by as many as 25 points in the second half.
Williams had a season-high 25 points, including 18 in the first half. The senior hit five 3-pointers and added five assists, four rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals.
“I came out with confidence and knew that I needed to be a spark for my team,” Williams said. “I felt really confident in my shot, so I just let it go when I had the room.”
Freshman Alex Williams had her second career double-double with a career-high 13 rebounds to go with 16 points, while Precious Bridges had another solid night with 12 points and six assists. Bridges was named the Southern Conference’s player of the month for the third time this season earlier Monday.
The Bears held Western Carolina (9-15, 1-8) to 35.6 percent (21-of-59) from the floor and had 10 steals and six blocked shots.
“We had 18 assists and only four turnovers. Alex had a double-double, and Bri, obviously, had 25,” Gardner said. “We had great minutes from everybody. It was a good team effort.”