First-year player averaged 17 points during this week’s Peach State road swing
MACON, Ga. (Feb. 22, 2014) – Freshman guard Shamauria Bridges (Miramar, Fla.) continued her recent trend of strong performances with a team and season-high 20 points in an 80-50 setback to the Mercer Bears on Saturday afternoon inside Hawkins Arena.
With the loss, ETSU drops to 8-17 overall and 4-10 in the Atlantic Sun, while Mercer improves to 14-12 on the season and 7-8 in league play.
Carrying the momentum from a big win on Thursday night in Kennesaw, the Bucs found themselves behind early on MU’s Senior Day. Early turnovers quickly proved to be costly as the Bears capitalized on these miscues with 21 points off of 12 Blue & Gold giveaways during the opening period. ETSU’s offense early on was carried by freshman Bridges who got it going promptly from the field en route to 14 first-half points. As an aid to Bridges, Tiana Burley (Camilla, Ga.) came off of the bench to again provide a scoring boost. Outside of the aforementioned student-athletes, the Blue & Gold struggled to find any additional production. Coupled with ETSU’s turnover problems, Mercer was red-hot from the field at 65 percent for the half. These developments led to the Bucs trailing the Bears, 43-25, at the half.
Much of the same problems that existed in the opening half carried over to the second period as Mercer increased its lead throughout. Facing a large deficit, the duo of Bridges and Burley did not go away lightly. The tandem scored 16 of the Bucs’ 25 second-half points, along with six rebounds in the period from Burley. As a team in the final period, the Blue & Gold gathered eight offensive rebounds and turned them into eight points. In the end, ETSU had no collective answer for MU’s efficient offense and turnover-inducing defense as the Bucs suffered an 80-50 setback.
Mercer featured four double-digit scorers; highlighted by a game-high 25 points from Briana Williams. For ETSU, in addition to Bridges’ career-high 20 points, Burley added 17 points and a game-high tying eight rebounds in a season-best 23 minutes of play. Serena Clark (Stone Mountain, Ga.) also corralled eight boards in the loss.
The Bears shot it at a very efficient clip of 52 percent for the game and also converted on 13-of-18 chances at the free-throw line. In addition, MU held sizeable advantages in points in the paint (34-16), points off turnovers (31-0), fast-break points (16-0) and bench points (37-17). Mercer also assisted on 18 of its 33 made field goals.
ETSU struggled again from the field at 30 percent and from behind the arc at 22 percent, but did take advantage of opportunities at the charity stripe with 14-of-18 makes. The Blue & Gold also held an advantage on the glass, 38-36, and turned 14 offensive rebounds into 12 second-chance points.
The Bucs will begin their final homestand of the season when they welcome the Jacksonville Dolphins to the ETSU/MSHA Athletics Center on Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.
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