JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Mercer women's basketball team held a double-digit lead late in the second half Saturday afternoon, but a 15-4 run by Jacksonville to close the game gave the Dolphins a 67-65 victory to cap the regular season at Swisher Gymnasium in Atlantic Sun Conference action.
The Bears (16-13, 9-9) see their four-game winning streak come to an end with the last-second defeat, while Jacksonville (13-16, 10-8) sweeps the season series from Mercer and wins back-to-back games for the first time since January.
With the loss, Mercer slips to the No. 5 seed in the A-Sun Championship and will remain in Jacksonville to take on the No. 4 Dolphins in the quarterfinals Tuesday evening. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. in Swisher Gymnasium.
The Bears led by as many as 12 points in the second half, and Briana Williams gave the Bears a 59-49 lead when she connected on a jumper in the lane with 4:01 remaining.
The Dolphins applied a full court press from there to force turnovers and they took full advantage on the other end, as Briona Brown hit three-straight treys from the corner to give JU a 64-61 lead and complete a 12-0 run with less than a minute to play.
Precious Bridges cut the JU lead to just two on a layup with 17 seconds left and Mercer managed to steal the inbounds pass, but a block and rebound by the Dolphins sealed the Bears' fate.
Briana Williams led Mercer with 19 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field, while Kendra Grant added 16 points and eight rebounds.
Queen Alford paced Jacksonville with 21 points, while Brown chipped in 14 and Sherranda Reddick added 13.
Jacksonville outrebounded Mercer 41-28, including a 16-6 edge in offensive boards that led to 12 second-chance points for the Dolphins. Mercer's 17 turnovers marked the second-most of any conference game during the season.