MACON, Ga. - In its first game action in nine days due to final exams, the Mercer women's basketball team didn't miss a beat after coming away with a 65-55 win over Alabama State on Sunday afternoon at Hawkins Arena.
Mercer (6-3) is now a perfect 4-0 at Hawkins Arena this season and is off to its best overall start through nine games since the 2008-09 campaign.
Sophomore Precious Bridges led all scorers with 19 points while junior Kendra Grant was not far behind, tallying 15 points and eight rebounds in the win.
The Bears got out of the gates fairly quickly, taking a 19-10 lead with 10:03 left in the first half after a three-pointer by sophomore Tabitha Bradshaw.
The Orange and Black kept up their nine-point advantage for the remainder of the first half, using a jumper by Grant to head into intermission with a 31-22 lead.
Alabama State wouldn't go away without a fight, however, using a 14-6 run capped by a lay-up by junior Talia Arrington to make the score 37-36 Mercer with 11:32 remaining in the second half.
Bridges took over from that point forward, scoring seven points over the next 2:33 of the contest. A jumper by the West Palm Beach, Fla. native pushed the Bears lead back up to nine, at 47-38, with 8:59 left in regulation.
Mercer stayed in front by a minimum of seven points for the remainder of the game, hitting seven of its final nine free throws to pull out the win.
Senior Ry'van Buchanan made her 2012-13 season debut on Sunday after missing the first eight games of the season due to a knee injury and chipped in with six points and three rebounds in 14 minutes of play.
Two Bears also reached some lofty personal milestones in the win. Senior Sharmesia Smith grabbed five rebounds to push her over 500 career rebounds while junior Sharnea Boykin tied her season-high with eight assists to give her exactly 250 helpers for her career.
Mercer is back on the road next time out, traveling to Tallahassee to take on ACC power Florida State on December 19. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center.