MACON, Ga. (Dec. 5, 2008) - If the Lady Bucs were in need of an early season wake-up call, they sure got one on Friday night.
Mercer pulled off an Atlantic Sun shocker, as the Bears defeated the reigning Atlantic Sun champions in ETSU's conference opener, 77-61, inside
Despite seeing junior TaRonda Wiles (
ETSU, who was picked first in both preseason conference polls, dropped to 1-5. Meanwhile, Mercer was tabbed eighth in both polls, but the Bears are now off to its best start since the 1991-92 season - improving to 5-2 and 2-0 in conference play.
ETSU came out with some intensity in its first conference game, and took a quick 13-4 lead after Tara Davis (
Both teams each hit 13 field goals in the first 20 minutes, but Mercer connected on two more threes and a pair of extra free throws. Neither team handled the ball well as they combined for 24 turnovers and both tallied a total of 20 fouls in the half.
Just like in the first half the Lady Bucs opened the final 20 minutes with a spark - scoring the first six points - and took a 39-37 lead when Evans nailed a pair of free throws.
Once again the flame was extinguished in a hurry.
With ETSU leading, 44-43 at the 13:38 mark, Mercer exploded with eight unanswered points to take command of the game. The Bears took advantage of being in the bonus eight minutes into the half as they connected on 13 of their 23 free throws in the last 12 minutes of the contest.
The Lady Bucs pulled to within three, 52-49, with less than 10 minutes left, but a 12-4 run gave Mercer a comfortable cushion when TaShera Lewis' lay-up made it an 11-point game, 64-53. ETSU never had an answer for the blitz and the Bears put the Lady Bucs away for the conference victory.
ETSU shot a season-high 41 percent (25-61), but only connected on 2 of its 16 three-point shots (12.5 percent). The Lady Buccaneers also won the rebounding battle - 36 to 32 - but Mercer went to the foul line 21 more times. Mercer finished 23-of-33, compared to 9-of-12 by the Lady Bucs.
The Bears had three players score in double figurers with
ETSU now heads back to
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