NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Mercer women's basketball team exchanged leads with Lipscomb 12 times Saturday evening, but a late 7-1 sent run sent the Bears to a 79-71 victory in Allen Arena in Atlantic Sun Conference action.
The Bears (9-6, 2-2 A-Sun) pick up their first conference road victory of the season and grab their fourth straight win over Lipscomb in the all-time series, while the Bisons (3-12, 0-4) drop their fifth consecutive contest and are still in search of their first league victory.
"Once again the game came down to the wire, but I was really pleased with how we executed down the stretch," said head coach Susie Gardner. "Kendra Grant shot the ball exceptionally and then they went to a box and one, but I was really happy how other players stepped up and I thought Teanna Robinson did a really good job on the defensive end."
Mercer led by as many as seven points in the early going as Grant caught fire, knocking down five of her first six shots and Precious Bridges hit a jumper with 16:50 left in the first half to give the Bears a 10-3 lead.
Mercer held the lead for the next nine minutes, but the Lipscomb's Danay Fothergill took the game over and eventually gave the Bisons their first advantage of the contest with a three-pointer from the corner to make it 24-22.
The lead changed hands five more times in the first half before a pair of Alicia Williams free throws gave Mercer a 38-37 lead at the intermission.
The Bisons opened the second half on fire with seven straight points in a 90-second span to take their largest lead of the game at 44-38, but in a game of runs Mercer quickly responded, scoring 12 of the next 13 points to jump right back in front and hold a 50-45 edge with 14:56 remaining in the game.
Tied at 67-67 with 2:43 remaining, Mercer took control and went on a 7-1 run, fueled by a pair of layups from Alicia Williams to give the Bears a lead they would never relinquish. Mercer knocked down eight free throws in the final minute to seal the 79-72 victory.
Bridges led four Bears in double figures with 20 points on an 8-for-13 shooting performance from the field, while Briana Williams added 17 points, Grant chipped in 15 and Alicia Williams recorded a dozen. Robinson, the nation's leading shot blocker, swatted six shots and added 14 rebounds, six of which came on the offensive end of the floor.
Fothergill tallied her second 30-point game of the year for Lipscomb in the loss, scoring 34-points, including a 13-for-15 stint from the charity stripe.
The Bears return home Thursday, Jan. 16 for a 7 p.m. tip-off with Stetson in Hawkins Arena. The A-Sun matchup will serve as a Coloring Book Drive, as the Mercer women's basketball team is partnering with the Children's Hospital at the Medical Center of Central Georgia to collect coloring books, colored pencils, crayons and markers. Bring any of these items and receive FREE admission to the game.