MACON, Ga (School Release). - The Mercer women's basketball team suffered through a tough 74-41 defeat in its Atlantic Sun Conference opener against Stetson on Monday afternoon at Hawkins Arena.
Mercer (6-6, 0-1 A-Sun) was done in by a scoreless streak of more than 6:30 from the end of the first half to the beginning of the second half that afforded Stetson (8-4, 1-0 A-Sun) a chance to pull away for the win.
Junior Kendra Grant was the only Mercer player in double figures with 15 points while classmate Sharnea Boykin handed out a game-high eight assists.
At the outset, both teams started efficiently on the offensive end, with Stetson taking an early 10-8 advantage. Grant gave the Bears their first lead of the afternoon as she converted an old-fashion three-point play for an 11-10 lead at the 14:59 juncture of the first half.
Midway through the period, Mercer trailed just 15-13 before Stetson earned points on four-straight possessions to go in front 26-15 with 9:00 left. Mercer battled back to close within seven, but the Hatters scored the final nine points of the stanza to take a 37-21 lead into halftime.
Stetson stayed hot after the break and scored the first seven points of the second half to assume control, at 44-21. From there, the Hatters' lead would balloon to as many as 36 before the final buzzer sounded.
Senior Victoria McGowan and junior Sasha Sims paced Stetson with 21 points apiece in the win.
The Bears ring in the New Year on January 2, when they welcome Florida Gulf Coast into town. Game time is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Hawkins Arena.