Women’s Basketball Outworked on the Boards in 58-47 Loss at Mercer
MACON, Ga. – Despite 18 points from Bailey Williams (Harrisonburg, Va./Spotswood), UNCG was unable to keep up with Mercer Saturday afternoon, falling to the Bears 58-47 in a Southern Conference matchup at Hawkins Arena.
“I was really pleased with our defensive effort,” said head coach Trina Patterson. “We did a good job of bottling up the best player in the conference, Kahlia Lawrence, and holding her below her average. However, we didn’t rebound as well and gave up second chances. Had we done that better I think it would have been a different outcome.”
That lack of rebounding prowess showed up in the stat sheet. The Spartans were out-rebounded 44-34, including a 17-9 differential in offensive boards.
Williams put together one of her best performances of the season, hitting four-of-six three pointers and seven-of-11 overall to come up just two points short of her career-high. The Virginia native also added four assists and pulled down six rebounds.
The senior guard was the lone Spartan to hit double-figure scoring. Nadine Soliman (Cairo, Egypt/Mokattam Language School) was next up with eight points, while Shanese Harris (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) chipped in seven of her own. Alexus Willey (Waldorf, Md./Riverdale Baptist) led UNCG with seven rebounds.
Lawrence led the way for the Bears with 11 points. Though that number is over seven points below her season average, she made up for the difference with a game-high 12 boards. Linnea Rosendal and Alex Williams were next in line with nine points apiece.
After a Soliman layup put the Spartans ahead 2-0, things quickly turned in Mercer’s favor. The Bears scored the game’s next six points and finished out the quarter with a 14-10 advantage.
The second quarter didn’t spell much different for the Spartans. The Bears opened the period on a 10-2 run to jump out to a 24-12 advantage. Mercer also closed the quarter strong, scoring the final seven points to hit the break with a commanding 33-16 lead.
The Spartans failed to box out consistently and it cost them dearly. The Bears snagged nine offensive rebounds in the first 20 minutes, resulting in a 24-13 advantage in boards for Mercer.
UNCG came out of the locker room with renewed energy, sparking a 7-0 run that cut the deficit to 10 points. The Bears were able to recover and keep the Spartans at a distance but UNCG got the last word of the quarter. Williams sprinted down the court and splashed a running three from just over the half court line to cut the Bear lead to 42-31 entering the final stanza.
That momentum didn’t turn into a Spartan rally as Mercer matched the 16 points scored by the Blue and Gold to secure the win. The loss drops the Spartans to 14-12 overall and 5-6 in SoCon play.