MACON, Ga. (School Release) - The Mercer women's basketball team is 3-0 to start a season for the first time since 1999 after downing Jacksonville State 63-51 on Saturday afternoon at Hawkins Arena.
The win was Mercer's fifth-straight dating back to last season and is now the third-longest active winning streak in the country, trailing just Oklahoma State (8) and Minnesota (7).
Sophomore Precious Bridges led all scorers with 18 points to go with five rebounds and three steals. Classmate Tabitha Bradshaw had her second-straight quality game offensively, finishing with 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field and 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc in the win.
Free throw shooting was the Bears best offensive weapon in the game, connecting on 77 percent (24-of-31) of their attempts from the charity stripe in the win.
Mercer used the free throw line to stay in the game early on, scoring eight of its first 10 points from the charity stripe to jump out to a 10-9 lead with 13:24 to go in the first half.
The Bears expanded their lead to as large as seven, 25-18, after a three-pointer by Bradshaw with 4:38 remaining in the first period, but settled for a three point advantage at 25-22 going into intermission.
Both teams traded baskets over the first few minutes of the second half before another three-pointer by Bradshaw and a lay-up by junior Sharnea Boykin made the score 41-31 Mercer with 11:13 left in regulation.
The Orange and Black would retain a comfortable lead for the remainder of the contest, as Jacksonville State got no closer than six points, due to their free throw shooting.
Mercer hit 13 of its final 14 free throws to control the game and seal its third-straight win to begin the 2012-13 season.
Junior Kendra Grant joined Bridges and Bradshaw in double figures, netting 12 points and two blocks. Boykin finished with eight points and a game-high four assists.
Mercer is back on the road for its next contest, traveling to Indiana to take on No. 6 ranked Notre Dame on November 20. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Purcell Pavilion.