JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (School Release) - The Mercer women's basketball team used a dominant defense and balanced scoring in the second half to pull away from East Tennessee State for its 11th-straight win, 67-58, on Saturday evening at MSHA Athletics Center.
Mercer's (17-7, 11-2 A-Sun) current 11-game winning streak is its longest since the program turned Division I and is tied for the 10th longest active winning streak in the nation.
Junior Kendra Grant led all scorers with 23 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the field and a 5-of-8 performance from three-point territory. Sophomore Precious Bridges also added 20 points of her own to push the Bears record to 10-2 when they have two players score at least 20 points in the same game.
Mercer jumped out to a 12-6 lead, but ETSU ripped off a 9-3 run capped by a fast break lay-in by sophomore Maria Bond to tie the game at 15-15 with 9:49 left in the first half.
A trifecta by Grant was sandwiched by a pair of old-fashion three-point plays by the Buccaneers to give the home team a 25-21 lead with 5:46 to go in the first half.
Grant tried to keep Mercer close with five-straight points, but freshman Brianna McQueen canned her third three-pointer of the half to give ETSU a 31-28 lead with 3:50 remaining in the first half.
The Bears kept things close, however, using a jumper from Bridges just before halftime to make the score 34-33 in favor of ETSU heading into the locker room.
The one-point deficit against the Bucs in just the third time Mercer has trailed at halftime during its current 10-game winnings streak, with the other two occasions coming against Jacksonville twice.
Mercer came out as the more aggressive team to start the second half, scoring the first nine points of the period to take a 42-34 lead with 14:35 remaining in the second half.
The Bears kept rolling, using five-straight points by senior Ry'van Buchanan to extend their lead up to nine, at 47-38, with 12:58 to go in the second half.
Mercer kept pouring it on, using back-to-back lay-ins by sophomore Alicia Williams and another three-pointer by Grant to push its lead to 59-42 with 7:28 left in the game.
The Orange and Black would stay in control from that point forward, never allowing their lead to dip below nine points the rest of the way to secure the win.
The Bears wrap up their two-game road swing when they travel to Spartanburg to take on USC Upstate on February 18. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Hodge Center.