Slow Start Hinders Women’s Basketball at USC Upstate
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Mercer women's basketball team placed three players in double figure scoring, but couldn't overcome a sluggish start in a 77-56 loss to USC Upstate at the G.B. Hodge Center.
The loss dropped the Bears to 3-14 (1-5 A-Sun) while the Spartans improved to 2-14 (1-4 A-Sun).
Junior Ry'van Buchanan led the Bears with 16 points on seven-of-13 shooting in the loss. The Atlanta, Ga. native had arguably her best all-around performance of the season, collecting five rebounds, two steals and a career-high five blocks on Monday.
Sophomore Jasmine Blakemore finished with 12 points, one short of tying a season-high scoring effort. All 12 of her points came in the second half on four-of-four shooting in the period.
Sophomore Briana Williams also had 12 points while booking a career-high five assists.
Mercer struggled at the offensive end in the first half, shooting just seven-of-26 (26.9%) from the floor and mustering only 19 points in the stanza. Upstate used 16-of-35 (45.7%) shooting in the period to build a 37-19 halftime lead.
The second half saw Mercer improve its field goal percentage significantly, as it the team put an added emphasis on feeding the post players. In the final 20 minutes, Mercer forwards scored 25 of the team's 37 points and the Bears made good on 14-of-29 shots (48.3%).
After the Bears finished the first half on a 6-0 run, junior Alex Phillips scored the first bucket of the half, trimming Mercer's deficit to 16. The 16-point margin was as close as the Bears would get in the second half.
Upstate was equally efficient in the second half, scoring 40 points on 10-of-20 (50%) shooting to secure the victory.
After playing six games in 13 days, the Bears now have four days without action before hosting Kennesaw State on January 14. Tip-off against the Owls is scheduled for 2 p.m.