Women’s Hoops Defeated at Wake Forest
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Freshman Alicia Williams led the Mercer women's basketball team with nine points in a 90-44 loss to Wake Forest at Lawrence Joel Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday.
Mercer slipped to 0-5 while Wake Forest moved to 3-1.
"Right now, we're not just coaching basketball," head coach Susie Gardner said. "We're having to correct the same errors over and over. I'm a little concerned about our shooting but some things that go on behind the scenes – the things that will take this program to a championship level - aren't there quite yet."
Mercer's leading scorer on the season, Briana Williams, went down with a knee injury just over one minute into the game. Williams returned briefly, but ended up playing only three minutes in the loss.
Williams' absence provided an opportunity for a collection of Mercer's younger guards to play extended minutes. The freshman trio of Alesha Smith, Erichea Barnes and Tabitha Bradshaw all had career-highs in minutes played.
"When [Briana] went out, it was a big scare for us," Gardner said. "Fortunately it's just a bone bruise, and she's just going to have to play through pain."
Junior Alex Phillips had career-high 14 rebounds, helping Mercer finish the game with a 51-36 advantage on the glass.
Alicia Williams added four rebounds, two assists and two steals to her stat line in the loss.
Bradshaw scored all eight of her points in the second half and collected three rebounds on Wednesday. Junior Ry'van Buchanan also had eight points and corralled nine boards.
Wake Forest used a combination of full-court pressure, timely double-teams and overwhelming length to force Mercer into 38 turnovers. The Demon Deacons finished the game with a 46-8 advantage in points off turnovers.
Mercer led 5-0 before Wake Forest ripped off six-straight points. Later the score was knotted 6-6 before the Demon Deacons scored 16-straight points, holding the Bears scoreless for a stretch of over six minutes.
Wake Forest finished the first half on a 19-5 run and sent Mercer into intermission behind, 48-19.
"As a coaching staff, we will continue to push them hard so one day they can feel what it's like to be part of a championship program," Gardner said.
Mercer returns to action at High Point Friday with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m.