It had been more than 20 years since the Mercer women’s basketball team started 3-0 in conference play.
But that’s exactly what the Bears accomplished Saturday as they coasted to an 80-51 win over Wofford at Hawkins Arena. Mercer had not started with three wins in conference play since the 1991-92 season when it played in the Trans America Athletic Conference, but it’s now tied for first place in its first season in the Southern Conference.
Mercer improves to 11-8 overall with its fifth straight win.
“I thought it was a great team effort and a good win for us,” Mercer head coach Susie Gardner said. “We have pretty good tools with Teanna (Robinson) inside, and Precious (Bridges) is having another great season, Kahlia (Lawrence) is shooting the ball a lot better, and Alex (Williams) is coming along, and of course, Briana (Williams) and Alicia (Williams) have played so many games for this program.
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“We have all the pieces. It’s good to see them all playing well at the same time.”
Mercer controlled the action from the start, jumping out to a 17-4 lead and methodically pulled away from the Terriers (4-13, 0-3). The Bears led 40-26 at the half and led by as many as 32 in the second half.
The Bears shot 48.4 percent from the floor (31-of-64) and held the Terriers to 35.4 percent (17-of-48), and Mercer dominated on the boards with a 47-24 advantage. Nineteen of those rebounds came on the offensive end of the Bears.
Mercer also shot 15-of-21 from the free-throw line.
“We put the rebounding rim on the goal this week, and we have really been emphasizing blocking out and rebounding,” Gardner said. “So I’m really pleased with that.”
Bridges had another outstanding game with 20 points, hitting 8-of-15 shots, with eight rebounds and six assists, and she got plenty of help. Lawrence, a freshman, also had 20 points as she finished with a double-double with 10 rebounds. Briana Williams added 10 points. Alex Williams, another freshman, had her best game of the season with a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds.
“I came out really focused on the game and had a game plan for what I wanted to do,” Alex Williams said. “Right before the game, I had a talk with my mom, and she gave me a lot of comfort and energy going into the game.
“As the game went on, I fell into the flow of the game, and we began to work really well together, and our energy progressed.”
Mercer returns to action when it hosts Furman at 7 p.m. on Monday at Hawkins Arena.