Mercer women edged by Furman, 58-55
Lawrence, who tabbed her second 20-point performance in as many games, also had six rebounds and two assists. Alicia Williams tallied 13 points, six rebounds and three assists, while Precious Bridges added 11 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Alex Williams contributed six points and seven rebounds, Teanna Robinson had six rebounds and four blocks, and Briana Williams added four points, four rebounds, two assists and two blocks.
Mercer moved to 11-9 overall and 3-1 in Southern Conference play, while Furman improved to 12-8 and 1-3 in the league. Whitney Bunn led the Paladins with 17 points.
“I felt like we got open shots and we just missed open shots,” said Head Coach Susie Gardner. “I thought we got some decent stops on their end. It was a low scoring game; I thought our defense was decent. When it came down for their go-to players to hit shots, they did, and we simply did not.”
After Furman scored the first two points of the second half, Mercer answered with a 10-2 run that stretched its advantage to 44-35 with 14:11 to play. The Bears’ momentum was halted when Brittany Hodges hit a jumper at 11:15 to ignite a 12-2 Furman run that put the Paladins on top 52-51.
A Bridges jumper gave Mercer the lead again, 53-52, with 5:44 remaining in the game. Furman outscored Mercer 6-2 over the next 3:25, to take a 58-55 lead. Neither team scored in the final 1:56 of the game.
Mercer shot 32.4 percent from the floor, while Furman connected on 44.8 percent of its shots. The Paladins outrebounded the Bears, 40-38, but Mercer won the turnover battle, 2-9. Mercer’s two turnovers are a season low.
The Paladins opened the game strong, working their way to an 8-2 lead just 4:20 into the contest. A trey from Alicia Williams sparked a 16-2 run by the Bears that put Mercer up 18-10 with 11:16 left in the period.
Mercer’s largest lead of the half came at 22-13 with 9:45 on the clock. The Bears kept the Paladins at bay for the remainder of the half, but Furman scored the final five points to cut Mercer’s lead to 34-31 before intermission.
Mercer connected on 36.1 percent of its shots in the first half, while Furman recorded a 43.8 field goal percentage. The Bears went 7-of-9 from the free throw line, while the Paladins hit just one of their three attempts.
The Bears will wrap up a three-game home stand on Monday, Jan. 26, when they host East Tennessee State. The game is set to begin at 7 p.m. at Hawkins Arena.
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