NASHVILLE, Tenn. (MERCER RELEASE) – The Mercer women's basketball team used a balanced offensive attack to post a 68-56 win over Elon in the Vanderbilt Thanksgiving Tournament consolation game on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Gym.
Six players scored at least six points for Mercer (4-3), led by junior Precious Bridges game-high 19 points. Junior Kate Alemann provided a nice scoring spark off the bench for the Bears, pouring in a career-high 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field.
"I was concerned with the quick turnaround and the potential letdown after playing a good game against a very good Wisconsin team yesterday," said head coach Susie Gardner. "Instead, we came out with great focus and intensity and I was really pleased with our balanced scoring today. Kate Alemann had a career game for us and we got to play balanced minutes for most of our players."
Contrary to the start of yesterday's contest against Wisconsin, it would be Mercer who got off to the quick start on Saturday against Elon. The Bears opened the game on a 14-8 run capped by a lay-in by Alemann with 12:28 left in the first half.
Mercer bumped its lead up to eight points, at 22-14, off a mid-range jumper by senior Kendra Grant with 10:04 left in the first half.
The Bears really started to distance themselves from the Phoenix towards the end of the first half. Mercer employed a 10-0 run, finished off by four-straight points from Grant, to make the score 34-20 Bears with 4:08 remaining in the first half.
Despite a pair of late baskets by Elon, Mercer managed to take a comfortable 36-24 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Both teams started slowly on the offensive side of the ball to begin the second half until Grant drilled a three-pointer to give Mercer a 41-29 lead with 16:20 left in the second half.
Elon got Mercer's lead down to nine, but back-to-back hoops by Alemann put the Bears back up by 13, at 49-36, with 11:52 to go in the second half.
The Orange and Black kept pushing it on the offensive end, using an 8-0 run to essentially put the game out of reach. A fast break lay-in by Bridges made the score 57-38 Mercer with just under seven minutes remaining in the game.
The Bears would pretty much coast from there, never letting their lead dip below 10 points the rest of the way for the win.
Grant chipped in with 12 points and five rebounds while junior Teanna Robinson dominated down low with 15 rebounds and five blocks in the win.
"We eventually got them down by 20 points in the second half and that's the first time we have been able to do that this year," Gardner said. "I challenged them to not them back in the game and I was really pleased with our effort throughout. It was a good weekend for us from top to bottom and hopefully we can build off this and keep getting better."
Mercer returns home next time out when it welcomes in-state rival into town on December 4. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Hawkins Arena.