DELAND, Fla. (School Release)- Postseason implications will be at hand when the Mercer women's basketball team squares off with Stetson in the regular season finale on Saturday. Game time between the Hatters and Bears is set for a 1 p.m. tipoff at the Edmunds Center.
Both Mercer and Stetson enter Saturday's game with identical 13-4 records in league play. The winner of Saturday's tilt will claim ownership of the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament and open postseason play on Wednesday, March 6.
Stetson is 20-8 (13-4 A-Sun) after securing the program's third-straight 20-win season with a win over Kennesaw State on Thursday evening. The Hatters are 13-1 the Edmunds Center this season and 29-2 in their last 31 games at the venue.
The Hatters boast one of the league's most potent offensives, averaging 69.1 points per game behind the play of Victoria McGowan and Shanasa Sanders. McGowan is third among league players at 16.3 points per game while Sanders is fourth at 13.6 points per outing. McGowan and Sanders are also two of the league's most talented rebounders, ranking 9th (6.6 RPG) and 11th (6.6 RPG), respectively.
Stetson leads the all-time series between the teams 34-28 and already defeated Mercer by a 74-41 count earlier this season at Hawkins Arena. The Hatters have reeled off five-straight wins in the series with Mercer's last victory on January 30, 2010.
In recent years, the Hatters have become one of the Atlantic Sun's most accomplished teams. The team has piled up 63 wins since the start of the 2010-11 season and aims to capture the A-Sun tournament's No. 2 seed for the third consecutive year.
Senior Shari Smith has double-doubles in each of her last three games, averaging 11.3 points and 15.3 rebounds over that span. She's now got five double-doubles in her collegiate career.
Mercer's 13 conference wins are already a program Division I record, besting the old mark of 12 set by the 2008-09 and 2001-02 teams.
Mercer is 8-2 on Saturday this season and 10-5 in afternoon games. The Bears are also 18-1 when committing fewer turnovers than the opponent and 19-5 when holding the opponent under 50% field goal shooting.
The Bears are just one win away from its first 20-win season since the 1991-92 campaign. A win Saturday would establish the eighth 20-win season in program history and the second for head coach Susie Gardner in her 14-year career.