NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After knocking off the Atlantic Sun's first place team last Saturday at home, the Mercer women's basketball team knew it would be difficult to defeat first-place Belmont on the road. The Bears were unable to pull off consecutive wins against the league's top teams, falling 66-55 to the Bruins.
Belmont (13-5, 9-2 A-Sun) went on a 10-2 run midway through the opening half, taking a 17-9 lead with 8:45 left. The Bruins extended their lead out to 14 twice, but the Bears battled back to enter halftime trailing by 12. Alysha Clark led the way for BU in the first half, scoring 14 of her team's 23 points.
After shooting 30.8 percent in the first half, Mercer (10-8, 7-4 A-Sun) was unable to get its offense on track in the second stanza until late in the game. The Bears trailed 46-30 with 11:05 remaining in the game as the Bruins opened the half shooting 40 percent from field.
The Bruins pushed the lead out to 24 with 7:17 left but Mercer was never able to trim it into single digits. The closest the Bears got was 11 with 14 seconds remaining after Rhonda Owens hit a foul shot.
Clark led Belmont with 24 points and eight rebounds while the nine other Bruins seeing action contributed at least three points. Brooke Sunday grabbed seven rebounds.
Sarah Russell led the Bears with 15 points and six rebounds on 7-for-13 shooting. Tanya Kessenich had nine points and five rebounds. Owens provided a spark off the bench with eight points.
"We just didn't have that pep in our step defensively," said Mercer head coach Brenda Welch-Nichols. "We got a lot of good play from different people tonight, but we need better ball rotation."
Mercer returns to action Saturday against Lipscomb. Tip-off is at 3 p.m.