Mercer Women's Basketball Reveals 2010-11 Schedule
MACON, Ga. – High profile matchups with Auburn, Georgia and Georgia Tech highlight the 2010-11 Mercer women’s basketball as announced by head coach Susie Gardner Monday. All told, the Bears tackle ten non-conference opponents in addition to a challenging 20-game Atlantic Sun slate.
“I like our schedule and the fact that we play the top schools in our region,” Gardner said. “I’ve never felt that you have to go far from home to find good competition.”
Of Mercer’s 20 opponents, five (Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, East Tennessee State and Florida Gulf Coast) finished last season among the nation’s top 100 RPI teams according to RealTimeRPI.com. Three others - Georgia, Georgia Tech and ETSU - competed in the NCAA tournament, with Georgia sporting a Sweet-16 appearance.
After a preseason tune-up against Georgia College and State at the University Center on Nov. 4, the Bears jump headfirst into a stretch of six non-conference games, five of which to be contested in enemy territory.
Mercer’s first official game comes Nov. 12 at Auburn, where the Bears search to pull the all-time series between the teams even at ten apiece. Mercer and Auburn have not met on the hardwood since Dec. 8, 2001 when Auburn escaped with a 59-57 victory.
Following the clash with Auburn, Mercer travels south to meet Georgia Southern on Nov. 16 before returning to Macon for its home opener against Furman on Nov. 19. The home opener this season also serves as the annual homecoming event.
“It will be exciting to give a fans their first glimpse of what we’re all about on homecoming weekend,” Gardner said.
The Paladins have added incentive to spoil Gardner’s University Center debut after Mercer claimed an impressive 75-62 win at Furman a season ago.
Thanksgiving sees the Orange and Black in Atlanta for the Georgia State Thanksgiving Tournament on Nov. 26-27. Aside from the host Panthers, Rice and Alabama A&M will participate in the event.
As the calendar switches to December, the Bears shift gears and hit the road for their first weekend of A-Sun competition. On Dec. 2 Mercer battles Belmont before capping the weekend at Lipscomb.
After the Nashville swing, Mercer spends the remainder of 2010 battling out-of-league opponents before returning to conference action on Jan. 3 versus ETSU.
On Dec. 7, Gardner will lead the Bears in action against her alma mater, Georgia. The Bulldogs compiled a 25-9 (9-7 SEC) record last season, including a 16-game unbeaten streak to start the year.
After the tussle with Georgia, Mercer hosts back-to-back games at the University Center against Big South Conference foes Charleston Southern and UNC Asheville on Dec. 20 and 22, respectively.
Mercer’s final non-conference test is scheduled for Dec. 28 against Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Georgia Tech posted a 23-10 (8-6 ACC) record a year ago and return four of its top-five scorers in 2010-11.
Mercer’s Jan. 3 home game versus ETSU marks the first challenge in an 18-game conference stretch to finish the regular season. The matchup with the Lady Bucs pits the top-two seeded teams in the A-Sun a season ago and sets the tone for the two-month grind leading up the conference tournament.
In the final two months of the regular season, Mercer will host all ten A-Sun opponents at the University Center.
“I’m familiar with many of the schools in the league because of my past coaching experiences,” Gardner said. “When I was at Florida, we played FGCU, North Florida, Stetson and Jacksonville. Being from Tennessee, I’m familiar with Belmont and Lipscomb. Our league is interesting because its difficult to predict who might come out on top each year.”
Mercer University will once again play host to the 2011 A-Sun Basketball Championships on March 2-5 at the University Center. The event will put the MU campus, city of Macon and middle Georgia region on display for participating teams, as well as regional and national television audiences.
Season ticket information will be available in late August. Anyone desiring to receive season ticket information may do so by contacting Jarrad Turner via e-mail at: email@example.com, or by calling (478) 301-2702. Information will also be posted on the Mercer Athletics web site (MercerBears.com) once available. Information on individual game tickets can be obtained by calling the MU ticket office at (478) 301-5470 or on-line at: www.mercerbears.com/tickets.
Mercer Women’s Basketball 2010-11 Tentative Schedule
Nov. 4 +^GEORGIA
COLLEGE & STATE
Nov. 12 at Auburn Auburn, Ala.
Nov. 16 at Georgia Southern Statesboro, Ga.
Nov. 26-27 at Georgia State (vs. Rice & Alabama A&M) Atlanta, Ga.
Dec. 2 *at Belmont Nashville, Tenn.
Dec. 4 *at Lipscomb Nashville, Tenn.
Dec. 7 at Georgia Athens, Ga.
Dec. 22 UNC
Dec.28 at Georgia Tech Atlanta, Ga.
Jan. 10 ^*at Campbell Buies Creek, N.C.
Jan. 15 *at Stetson DeLand, Fla.
Jan. 17 *at Florida Gulf Coast Fort Myers, Fla.
Jan. 26 *at Kennesaw State Kennesaw, Ga.
Jan. 29 ^*at USC Upstate Spartanburg, S.C.
Jan. 31 ^*at East Tennessee State Johnson City, Tenn.
Feb. 19 *at North Florida Jacksonville, Fla.
Feb. 21 *at Jacksonville Jacksonville, Fla.
Feb. 26 ^*LIPSCOMB Macon, Ga.
Mar. 2-5 A-SUN TOURNAMENT
Home games in BOLD
* Atlantic Sun conference game