MACON, Ga. - The Mercer women's basketball team has now won four games in a row for the first time since 2009 following a dominant 72-55 triumph over USC Upstate on Saturday afternoon at Hawkins Arena.
Mercer (10-7, 4-2 A-Sun) is now tied with the 2005-06 squad for the best 17-game start to a season since the Bears started 12-5 back in the 1991-92 campaign.
Sophomore Precious Bridges led all scorers with 23 points, on 11-of-24 shooting from the field, for her seventh 20-plus scoring effort of the season. Classmate Alicia Williams also had a solid afternoon, tallying a season-high 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting for the game.
The Orange and Black jumped out to an early lead thanks to the play of junior Kendra Grant. The Macon, Ga. native scored seven early points to give Mercer an 11-2 lead with 15:59 to go in the first half.
The Bears pushed their lead to double digits minutes later when sophomore Tabitha Bradshaw canned a jumper to put the home team up 21-10 with 7:39 left in the first half.
Williams capped off a solid first half when she drained a three-pointer with just five seconds left in the period to send Mercer into halftime with a commanding 37-16 advantage.
The Bears out-rebounded the Spartans 24-14 in the first stanza and held the visitors to just 26 percent shooting from the field to help build their lead.
Mercer would keep things going to start the second half, using a jumper by Bridges to extend its lead to 24 points, 52-28, with 14:50 to go in the second half.
The Orange and Black held steady the rest of the way, as USC Upstate never got closer than 17 points until the final buzzer sounded.
Junior Sharnea Boykin had a stellar all-around game of her own scoring four points, dishing out nine assists and setting season-highs with six rebounds and four steals.
Mercer stays at home for its next game when it welcomes East Tennessee State into town on January 21. Game time is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Hawkins Arena and will serve as Kids Day, awarding all fans ages 12 and under free admission.