JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (MERCER RELEASE) – The Mercer women's basketball team held Jacksonville to just 23.1 percent shooting from the field on its way to a 59-36 Atlantic Sun Championship first round win on Tuesday afternoon at Swisher Gymnasium.
The 36 points allowed by Mercer (17-13) is the fewest points scored by an opponent this season and the fewest since the Bears limited Lipscomb to 31 points on February 25, 2013.
Mercer has now won at least one A-Sun Championship game in consecutive seasons for the first time since the 1991-92 and 1992-93 campaigns.
"Jacksonville is a very talented team and they play hard, but we feel like they stole a couple games from us this year," head coach Susie Gardner said. "So we stayed down here and worked really hard with film and we tweaked a few things with our defense to take away some of the things they did well previously against us. I just felt like tonight was a total team effort because we had four players in double figures, we played with a lot of passion and energy and this was just a great win for our program."
Mercer started the game strong, using an old-fashion three-point play by junior Briana Williams to take an 11-5 lead with 14:02 left in the first half.
The Bears continued to increase their lead when junior Alicia Williams drilled a baseline jumper to make the score 18-8 with 7:20 remaining in the first half.
After three-straight points by the Dolphins, senior Kendra Grant kept Mercer comfortably ahead when she canned a mid-range jumper to make the score 22-13 with 3:56 to go in the first half.
A lay-in by Alicia Williams off a baseline in-bounds play capped the first half and sent Mercer into halftime with a 30-17 lead over Jacksonville.
Junior Teanna Robinson got the Bears off to a good start coming out of the locker room, hitting back-to-back lay-ins to make the score 36-22 Mercer with 17:44 left in the second half.
Points were at a premium early in the second half as both teams combined to score just 15 points over the first seven minutes of in-game action. Three-straight free throws by Briana Williams broke the drought and pushed Mercer out to its largest lead of the game thus far, at 41-24, with 13:10 remaining in the second half.
Alicia Williams kept building onto Mercer's lead after converting a lay-in off a nice pass from senior Sharnea Boykin to make the score 52-29 with 5:13 left in the game.
That would be plenty of offense for Mercer, who used its stifling defense to limit Jacksonville to just seven points the rest of the way to secure the road win.
Alicia Williams led four players in double figures for Mercer with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field to go along with seven rebounds.
Robinson booked her seventh career double-double in the win with 10 points and 14 rebounds in addition to seven blocks in the win.
Mercer now moves onto the A-Sun Championship semi-finals for the second-straight season where it will take on No. 1 seed Florida Gulf Coast on March 15. Game time is still to be determined at Alico Arena.