GREENVILLE, S.C. (School Release)- Despite junior Kendra Grant tying her career-high with a game-high 24 points, the Mercer women's basketball team came up just short in a 73-64 road loss at Furman on Saturday afternoon at Timmons Arena.
Mercer falls to 3-2 on the season with the loss, while Furman improves to 3-1 in the young 2012-13 campaign with the win.
"At one point in the first half we got down by 11 points, they had made 13 more free throws than us and we had two players in Sharnea and Tabitha who each had three fouls, but we kept battling," head coach Susie Gardner said. "I thought we battled back, we took the lead in the second half and never quit fighting, but Furman played very hard as well."
Grant's 24 points came on 11-of-22 shooting from the field and a 2-for-4 showing from downtown. Joining Grant in double-figures for Mercer was sophomore Precious Bridges with 17 points and sophomore Teanna Robinson, who posted her first career double-double with career-bests in points (10), rebounds (14) and minutes played (35) in a losing effort.
The home team got off to a quick start, opening the game on a 16-4 run over the first 6:48 of the contest. A cutting lay-in by Robinson stopped the momentum and made the score 16-6 Furman with 12:59 to go in the first half.
The Bears would counter the Paladins run with a scoring streak on their own, ripping off a 23-16 run over the next 9:57 of play. A jumper by Grant, who had 13 points during the run, cut Furman's lead down to three, at 32-29, with 3:02 remaining in the first half.
In a half full of runs, it would be the Paladins who finished the stanza strong. Eight-straight points, four of which coming from junior Janice Roberts, by Furman upped its lead to 40-29 going into halftime.
The Bears would come out of the locker room with a renewed determination and it showed on the court, as they began the second half on a 16-3 run. A jumper by Bridges supplied Mercer with its first lead of the game, making the score 45-43 with 15:34 to go in the game.
The teams traded baskets over the next several minutes before five-straight points by senior Teshia Griswold put Furman back in front 58-51 with 8:08 left in the second half.
Mercer kept fighting, though, using a driving lay-in by sophomore Tabitha Bradshaw to cut the Paladins lead down to as little as three points, 63-60, with 2:47 left in regulation.
That would be as close as the Bears got, however, as they were forced to foul late and Furman responded by hitting 10-straight free throws to close out the game and the win.
"This was a game we definitely could've pulled out, but we will continue to learn from these close contests and figure out which players we need to have in at the end of games and what we need to do at the end to win these types of games," Gardner said.
Mercer is back on the court when it returns to Macon to host Davidson on November 28. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Hawkins Arena.