MACON, Ga. (School Release)- After leading the Mercer women's basketball team to its best season record wise in over 20 years and a No. 3 seed in this week's Atlantic Sun Championship, junior Kendra Grant and sophomore Precious Bridges were recognized by being voted onto the Atlantic Sun All-Conference first team on Tuesday afternoon.
Bridges and Grant are the first Mercer players named to the A-Sun All-Conference first team since Courtney Ford in 2009-10 and it's the first time two Bears have made the first team since Andrea Congreaves and Jaana Sintonen were recognized in 1990-91.
Bridges had a breakout sophomore season for Mercer, finishing the regular season ranking second in the A-Sun Conference averaging 16.9 points per game. Bridges led the Bears in scoring 15 times this season and scored 20 or more points on 12 different occasions in 2012-13. The West Palm Beach, Fla. native was named A-Sun Player of the Week a league-high four times this season, one of which came after she scored a career-high 36 points in a road win at Lipscomb on Jan. 26.
"I think the combination of Precious moving back to her natural two-guard position this year and the fact that she has gained so much more confidence in herself and her ability as a sophomore has contributed to her having a great season," head coach Susie Gardner said. "Precious has the ability to create her own shot and has worked very hard to improve her game so I am extremely proud of this great honor she has achieved."
Grant is having a spectacular comeback season after missing all of 2011-12 campaign due to injury, finishing the regular season ranked seventh in the A-Sun Conference averaging 12.9 points per game. The Macon, Ga. native has 21 double figure scoring games this season and tied for 14th in the A-Sun with 35 three-pointers made this season. Grant tied her career-high with 24 points on two separate occasions in 2012-13, while also setting single game highs with eight rebounds, four assists and six steals.
"I was just a few seconds away from telling Kendra to retire from the game of basketball this summer due to her constant problems with her knees," Gardner said. "After not playing a minute last season, Kendra has fought back to become one of our best and more dependable players due to her passion and love for the game and I am so thrilled she has received this amazing honor."
Mercer has had plenty of success based around the play of Bridges and Grant in 2012-13, as the Bears are 13-3 when the tandem both scored in double figures in the same game this season.
Florida Gulf Coast's Sarah Hansen was named the A-Sun Conference Player of the Year while head coach Karl Smesko was tapped as the A-Sun Coach of the Year.
Bridges and Grant now lead the No. 3 seeded Mercer women's basketball team into the 2013 Atlantic Sun Championship and a first round match-up with No. 6 Jacksonville on March 7. Game time is scheduled for 12 noon at Hawkins Arena.