SPARTANBURG, S.C. (MERCER RELEASE) – The Mercer women's basketball team received a career-high 18 points from Kate Alemann, but USC Upstate used an 8-0 run over the final 1:55 to emerge with a 63-62 victory Thursday evening in the Hodge Center in Atlantic Sun Conference action.
The Bears (9-9, 2-5) drop their third-straight game with the loss, while USC Upstate (8-9, 3-3) wins back-to-back games for the first time this season and snaps a streak of three straight wins for Mercer in the all-time series.
Leading 62-55 with 1:55 remaining in the game, Mercer went cold from the field and missed its final three shots of the contest, while Upstate connected on its final three attempts from the field, including a layup from Valese McAllister with 16 seconds left to give the Spartans a one-point lead.
Mercer would have one last chance to win the game, but an Alicia Williams layup bounced off the rim and after the Bears pulled down a rebound and called timeout, a costly turnover gave Upstate the comeback victory.
"I was disappointed in the way we finished the game," said head coach Susie Gardner. "You have to give them credit for hitting the big shots but we didn't counter with any makes down the stretch."
Mercer was in total control early in the game, as Alemann caught fire and knocked down each of her first five shots to give Mercer its largest lead of the game at 25-12 with 8:16 remaining in the first half.
The Bears held that double digit lead until the final three minutes of the first half when the Spartans came alive and used a 13-3 run to cut the Mercer lead to 32-29 at intermission.
Upstate continued to surge in the opening minutes of the second half, hitting back-to-back buckets to erase Mercer's once 13-point lead and give the Spartans a 33-32 advantage with 18:24 remaining.
The lead would change hands 11 times in the second half, with the final time giving Upstate a one-point advantage and the comeback victory.
Sharnea Boykin tied her season-high with 10 assists, while Alemann scored a career-high 18 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for first double-double of the year.
The Bears will make their way to Johnson City, Tenn., and prepare to take on ETSU Saturday to cap a two-game weekend road swing. Tip-off against the Buccaneers is set for 1:30 p.m. at the MSHA Athletics Center.