Blowouts and milestones were the themes for the Mercer basketball teams Thursday night.
Now, the two teams have a quick turnaround to get ready for games Saturday.
Mercer’s women routed Western Carolina 84-53, while the Mercer men pounded VMI 81-51. The women host UNC Greensboro at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Hawkins Arena, while the men stay on the road for a 4 p.m. game at East Tennessee State.
“They’re playing well. They’ve got a new coach, and they have a lot of confidence in what they’re doing. They can be pretty dynamic,” Mercer women’s head coach Susie Gardner said of the UNC Greensboro Spartans. “But we also know that we don’t take anyone for granted, ever, and we haven’t since I’ve been here.”
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Gardner’s team is 19-5 overall as it searches for its third straight 20-win season, something Mercer has never accomplished as a Division I program (and only has accomplished once from 1973-74 to 1975-76). The Bears are 8-2 in the Southern Conference, while UNC Greensboro is 14-11 and 5-5 in head coach Trina Patterson’s first season.
Bob Hoffman’s Mercer men’s team is 12-14 overall and 6-7 in the conference, while East Tennessee State is 19-6 and 9-6. After an 88-71 loss to Wofford to open conference play, Mercer’s other six conference losses have come by a combined 20 points, including five by three points or fewer.
“All of them are tough. Every team in our league is capable of winning home or away,” Hoffman said. “We know that. All you have to do is look at the schedule and see that’s happened already. We’ve had a lot of games with those guys. It’s time for us to get this one.”
On Thursday, junior Kahlia Lawrence surpassed the 1,500-point mark for her career, and she is ninth on the Bears’ all-time scoring list. Also, junior Jordan Strawberry had his 300th career assist.