Charleston Southern Nips Women’s Basketball, 71-68
MACON, Ga. – Mercer sophomore Kendra Grant led all scorers with 24 points, but her three-point attempt as time expired came up short and Charleston Southern escaped with a 71-68 win in Monday night’s non-conference women’s basketball game at the University Center.
Mercer fell to 1-8 with the loss while Charleston Southern moved to 5-7 on the year.
“I felt like we kept fighting the whole game,” head coach Susie Gardner said. “We showed some maturation by coming back from a deficit. Overall I was pleased with the effort.”
With the game knotted at 68, Charleston Southern’s Katie Tull stroked her fifth three pointer of the night with 13 seconds on the clock.
After Gardner called timeout, Mercer guard Sharnea Boykin quickly advanced the ball up the sideline. Mercer looked to freshman Briana Williams to create space, but she was smothered by a Buccaneer defender and her three point attempt was off the mark.
Boykin chased down the rebound and kicked it out to Grant, who had an open look at a game-tying three with two seconds to go. Grant’s shot clanged off the front of the rim and Charleston Southern prevailed.
Grant’s 24 points were a career-high and came in conjunction with three steals and three rebounds. Grant’s classmate, Alex Phillips, contributed 13 points, three blocks and five rebounds in the losing effort.
“Kendra had career game and it was very well deserved,” Gardner said. “She spends extra time in the gym and is always coming early and staying late. She’s a player who has that passion and desire to win.”
After trailing the entire game, Grant drilled a second half three-pointer that sparked an 8-0 surge for the Bears, tying the game for the first time with 11:50 to go.
Each team exchanged blows the remainder of the game as the final ten minutes of play featured six tie scores.
Behind 64-60 with 2:40 on the clock, Grant came alive in front of her hometown crowd. The Macon native scored eight straight points, capped by a three from the corner of the floor with a defender in her face that put the Bears on top, 68-66.
On its next possession, Charleston Southern’s Helen Terry drew a foul in the paint and converted both free throws, knotting the game at 68. Mercer was forced into a turnover on its next possession, setting the stage for Tull’s dagger with 13 seconds remaining.
“If there is a negative or something to address, it’s that Charleston Southern had too many offensive rebounds,” Gardner said. “In a possession game, if you to grab 20 offensive rebounds chances are you’re going to win.”
Mercer was outrebounded, 45-34. Charleston Southern grabbed 20 of their boards on the offensive end in comparison to Mercer’s six offensive rebounds.
Mercer’s bench outscored Charleston Southern’s reserves, 28-17. Guards Ariel Barnes, Amber Chatmon and Rebecca Clanton each played significant roles in Mercer’s second half comeback.
Barnes, Chatmon and Clanton combined for ten points, five rebounds and four steals in the loss.
“We have to move on and can’t dwell on this game,” Garnder said. “We’ve got about a day and a half to day to prepare for our next opponent and we’ve got to learn from tonight about things we can do better.”
Mercer returns to action hosting UNC Asheville on Wednesday afternoon at 1 p.m.