Stetson Edges Women’s Hoops, 89-84
Mercer slipped to 3-12 (1-3 A-Sun) with the loss while Stetson captured its seventh-straight win and moved to 13-3 (4-0 A-Sun).
At halftime the score was knotted at 35, but Stetson jumped all over Mercer with a 5-0 run in the first 41 seconds of the second stanza. With 12:50 to play, the Hatter advantage had swollen to 11 (57-46).
Facing their biggest deficit of the night, Mercer turned to freshman Tabitha Bradshaw to spark the Mercer offense. Bradshaw buried two three pointers in less than a minute, igniting a 21-10 run for the hosts that tied the contest for the seventh time with 7:09 to play.
The tie was short-lived however, as Stetson's Victoria McGowan scored the game's next six points in 40 seconds. Stetson would hold that lead for the remainder of the game.
A three-ball for Buchanan made the score 85-84 with 32 seconds to go, but Mercer was forced to foul in an attempt to extend the game. Stetson was a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line down the stretch and ultimately came away with the five-point victory.
McGowan tallied her second triple-double of the season with 29 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. The league's Preseason Player of the Year also collected five steals in 35 minutes of action.
Williams scored her team-high 26 points on 9-of-23 shooting, including 4-of-9 from beyond the arc. She also booked five rebounds and a pair of assists in the loss.
Buchanan had 20 points on 9-of-16 shooting while collecting four rebounds, two steals and two assists.
Williams cracked the 20-point barrier for the fifth time this season while Buchanan had her second game with 20 or more.
Both teams had a sluggish start as the scoreboard showed a 0-0 tie for the first 2:48 of play. Briana Williams broke the ice with a long jumper for a 2-0 Mercer advantage. After the Hatters answered with a layup, Buchanan swished a long jumper for a 4-2 Mercer lead.
Later the score was knotted at 10 before Williams went on a personal 5-0 run to put the hosts in front by five. Williams' 5-0 surge was keyed by a leaping defensive steal by Phillips which provided the Bears a fast break opportunity.
Mercer pushed its first-half lead to seven when Alicia Williams drilled a triple from the corner, but Stetson came right back with four-straight points to close within three (26-23) with 4:33 to go.
The Hatters kept chipping away at the deficit and eventually tied matters at 28 with just over three minutes to play in the half. The teams matched scores for the remainder of the half and went into the locker room locked in a 35-35 tie.
Mercer finished the game with advantages in bench scoring (34-8), fast break scoring (10-8), second-chance scoring (13-8) and points off turnovers (17-14).
Mercer returns to action in a road contest at East Tennessee State on January 7. Tip-off is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.