SPARTANBURG, S.C. (MERCER ATHLETICS) – The Mercer women's basketball team battled back from a nine-point second half deficit to escape with a 55-54 road win over USC Upstate on Monday evening at the Hodge Center.
Mercer (18-7, 12-2 A-Sun) has now run its winning streak up to 12-straight games, the program's longest since ripping of 14 in a row as a Division II member in the 1984-85 season. The Bears 12-game winning streak is still tied for the 12th longest active winning streak in the country.
Sophomore Precious Bridges poured in a game-high 20 points, her 12th game of scoring 20 or more points this season, while tying a season-high with 39 minutes played.
Sophomore Teanna Robinson tallied a career-high 16 rebounds in the win while junior Sharnea Boykin handed out 13 assists, her fourth game with 10 or more assists in the 2012-13 campaign.
Mercer jumped out to an 11-6 lead thanks to a mid-range jumper by Bridges with 13:17 to go in the first half.
USC Upstate came right back with the next six points of the contest, however, capped by a jumper by senior Tee'Ara Copney to give the home team a 12-11 advantage with 10:48 to go in the first period.
In what was a slow moving first half, Mercer ended the stanza on a 9-6 run but still went into the locker room trailing USC Upstate 25-24.
The Spartans shot 48 percent in the first half, compared to just 30 percent for the Bears, but Mercer held a commanding 26-17 advantage on the boards to stay within striking distance.
With the score 31-30 in favor of the USC Upstate, the home team ripped off a 6-0 run capped by a lay-in by sophomore Shelby Hicks to increase its lead to 37-30 with 13:14 to go in the second half.
After converting only one field goal over the first eight minutes of the second half, Mercer started to get going scoring six-straight points, including a three-pointer by junior Kendra Grant, to make the score 40-37 Spartans with 10:35 remaining in the contest
USC Upstate built its lead up to a game-high nine points before the Bears went on an 8-1 run to pull within two, at 50-48, with 3:59 remaining in the second half.
Mercer came all the way back thanks to a fast break lay-in by Bridges to tie the score at 50-50 with 2:47 left in the game.
The Bears managed to grab some breathing room, literally, after Robinson snagged a missed free throw and converted a subsequent lay-in to put Mercer ahead 55-52 with 10 second left in regulation.
USC Upstate had one last chance to tie, but fumbled away an inbounds pass with four second remaining in the game to solidify the win for the Bears.
Mercer shot just 30 percent from the floor for the game, but out-rebounded USC Upstate 51-35 which in turn led to a huge 22-2 edge in second-chance points.
The Bears now return to Macon for their final two home games of the 2013 regular season starting with a tilt against Northern Kentucky on February 23. Game time is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Hawkins Arena.