MACON, Ga-- The Bears return to the court at Hawkins Arena looking to improve on a disappointing 6-23 season.

Mercer has five starters coming back and a year of experience under the belt of a large freshman class. Head coach Susie Gardner says practices are smoother with everyone on the same page.

"We can get through a drill much more quickly. We only have two new players on the team, so I have a majority of people that can run a drill versus our coaches running the drill and then Kate[Alemann]and Jessica [Prieto] can watch and then jump in there."

Over the past two seasons, the Bears have relied on guard Briana Williams to get points on the board, but she is not an option this season.

"Last year, I think a lot of people would just stand and watch Briana," said Gardner.

Williams tore her ACL and will redshirt this season. Her loss has caused the coaching staff to readjust their game plan.

"We've changed some things that we're doing," explained Gardner. "Defensively, there are some things that I wanted to bring here. Initially, we just didn't have the right personnel.

"We have to be creative in finding ways to score."

Mercer will host Francis Marion in an exhibition contest on November 1 at seven p.m.. The season officially begins on November 9 against Brevard.

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