JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Mercer women's basketball team used a season-high 22 points from Kendra Grant Thursday evening and held off North Florida 71-65 at UNF Arena in Atlantic Sun Conference action.
The Bears (16-12, 9-8) continue to surge over the final stretch of conference games, winning their fourth-straight contest and sweeping the season series from UNF for the second-consecutive year, while the Ospreys (5-23, 1-16) drop their 12th straight game and are officially eliminated from postseason play.
Grant was the story of the first half, as the senior was unstoppable from the floor, shooting 7-for-11 from the field, including a 4-for-7 mark from long range for 18 points.
Neither team led by more than five points over the first 12 minutes of action, but Mercer finally started to pull away late in the opening period and ended the first half on a 9-2 run to open up a 38-30 lead at intermission.
The Bears carried their momentum to the second half where Precious Bridges hit back-to-back jumpers to pace Mercer into a 10-5 run that resulted in a 48-35 lead and a UNF timeout.
Mercer raced out to a 16-point lead at 56-40 following a jumper from Grant, but the Ospreys refused to go away, going on a 10-0 run that featured a three-point play by Larkira Jones and a trey from Bailey Florin.
The Bears pushed the lead back to double digits one last time before UNF made another run, this time a 9-2 spurt pulled the Ospreys to within three points at 62-59. North Florida pulled as close as one point with less than two minutes remaining, but Mercer used a 5-0 run over the final 1:49 to secure the victory.
Grant paced a trio of double-digit scores for the Bears with 22 points, while Bridges tallied her first career double-double with 19 points and a career-high 10 rebounds. Briana Williams added 11 points in 23 minutes of action.
The Bears shot an even 50-percent from the field, while the Ospreys shot 44-percent from the floor and 40-percent from long range.
The Bears will cap the regular season Saturday, March 8 against Jacksonville University. Tip-off against the Dolphins is set for 1 p.m. in Swisher Gymnasium.