The Lady Bisons were victims of slow starts in both halves. They did not score their first points in the first half until 2:53 had elapsed. In the second half they scored their first points four minutes into the half when guard Anna Bowers sank a 3-pointer.
The Lady Bisons did not qualify for the Atlantic Sun Tournament. They ended the season with a 5-25 record, 3-17 in the A-Sun. Mercer, the second seed in the A-Sun Tournament, is 14-15 overall, 11-9 in the conference.
“We gave them opportunities in bunches and put ourselves into holes,” Lady Bisons coach Frank Bennett said. “I felt like we out-played them a lot of the game, but they got their points so quickly at times largely through things we broke down on or were careless with.”
Mercer started off the game with a 3-point shot from guard LaToya Jackson and never trailed in the game.
The Lady Bisons were down 9-0 in the first half when center Clair Waggener scored on a jumper with 2:53 gone in the half. The Lady Bisons trailed by 16, 21-5, on a jump shot by guard Neicey Lewis with 13:36 left before intermission.
Starting with a 3-pointer by forward Leah McAlister with 9:12 left the Lady Bisons went on an 8-2 run to cut Mercer’s lead to four, 27-23, with 4:57 on the clock. The run was capped by a 3-point shot by guard Jenna Bartsokas.
The Lady Bisons spotted Mercer a 7-0 advantage in the second half before scoring.
Mercer never trailed by less than double figures in the second half until the 2:42 mark when forward Hannah Phillips hit a 3-pointer for the Lady Bisons to trim the Mercer lead to seven, 66-59.
The Lady Bisons were behind by 19 with 7:04 left.
Bartsokas scored with 21 seconds left on a layup. She was fouled and hit her free throw to trim Mercer’s lead to 71-65.
With 15 seconds remaining forward Morgan Faulkner scored on a layup and also was fouled. She hit her free throw to pull the Lady Bisons within four, 72-68.
“I did like the fact that we came back strong and did a lot of good things,” Bennett said. “We still had some shots we could have made around the basket.”
Bartsokas led the Lady Bisons in scoring with 17 points. Phillips added 11.
“Jenna had a real strong finish to the season,” Bennett said. “The last five games of the season were her most consistent stretch of high level play throughout the year. Hopefully, she can play at that high of a level night in and night out next year.
“Morgan Faulkner and Hannah Phillips did a lot of good things for us this year. Hannah had a really good second half against Mercer.”
Jackson scored a game-high 23 points. Guard Courtney Ford had a double-double with 17 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Also posting a double-double was center Kourtney Carter with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Toia McGowan was honored as the lone senior on the Lady Bisons team in a special ceremony.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations