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Mercer (9-6, 2-2 A-Sun)
Lipscomb (3-12, 0-4 A-Sun)
1/11/2014 | Nashville, Tenn. (Allen Arena) | Attendance: 310
Friday, January 10, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After dropping a tightly contested 82-78 loss to Kennesaw State on Thursday, the Lipscomb women’s basketball team does not have much time to rebound as they host the Mercer Bears in Allen Arena at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Thursday’s game was much of the same for the Lady Bisons, playing hard only to come up short in the end. It was the fifth game this season that Lipscomb has lost by 10 points or less. (ß-Need to re-phrase)
As a team the Lady Bisons shot their third highest shooting percentage of the season at 45.9 percent and got double-digit performances from four players. Perhaps none was better than the 21-point performance from Sara Bliss. She was 6-of-10 shooting and sank 8-of-11 from the free throw line. She was one point shy of tying her career-high.
Mercer brings to Nashville an 8-6 overall record, 1-2 in the A-Sun. The Bears are coming off back-to-back losses to Jacksonville and Northern Kentucky. The road loss to the Norse gives Mercer a 3-3 record away from home. Lipscomb has yet to be victorious in Allen Arena, holding a 0-4 record.
Lipscomb (3-11, 0-3 in the A-Sun) holds a slight 11-10 advantage in the series history with Mercer since joining NCAA Division I. The Bears have taken the last three against the Lady Bisons. Lipscomb’s last win in the series came on the heel of a three-game win streak when the Lady Bisons defeated Mercer 80-70 in 2012 on New Year’s Day inside Allen Arena.
Danay Fothergill sports a 17.5 scoring average for Lipscomb, tops on the team and has scored in double-digits in all eight of her games this season. After playing her first seven on the road, Fothergill had a nice home debut in front of the Purple and Gold faithful. She poured in 18 points on 6-of-16 shooting and pulled down seven rebounds in 36 minutes of play.
Do not expect to see Mercer shoot the 3-ball the way Kennesaw did on Thursday. The Bears are dead last in the conference with 32 made treys and are only averaging 2.3 per contest.
Mercer will present more of a challenge defensively as it owns the second-best scoring defense in the A-Sun, allowing only 64.1 points per game.
A true test for Ashley Southern and the rest of the undersized Lady Bisons will be how they will handle Teanna Robinson, the A-Sun’s top shot blocker and second leading rebounder. The 6-foot-5 product from Grayson, Ga., is behind only Southern in rebounding at 11.3 per contest. She has the only 20-plus rebound game of the year in the A-Sun against Georgia Southern.
Robinson has 56 blocked shots on the year and is tied with Iona's Sabrina Jeridore for the nation's lead in blocks per game at 4.15; that is more blocks individually than eight A-Sun squads have as a whole.
Robinson leads the league in offensive boards, pulling down 70. To put that into perspective, Southern is third and has grabbed 46 on the year. Southern and Robinson are tied for the league lead with 10 games of 10 or more rebounds.
Offensively, Mercer is led by Precious Bridges’ 16.8 points a game. She is the third leading scorer in the conference and owns three 20-plus point games, including a season-high 28 at Wisconsin.
The game will feature two of the A-Sun top three assists leaders in Maya Dillard of Lipscomb and Sharnea Boykin of Mercer. Boykin leads the league with 89 total assists and 6.4 per game. Dillard leads all A-Sun freshmen and is third overall with 64 total assists and a 4.6 average.
Dillard needs to respond with another stellar game on Saturday if the Lady Bisons want to avoid a fifth-straight loss. She tied her career-high with 16 points behind a blistering 7-of-11 shooting against Kennesaw State. Dillard also added seven assists to only two turnovers, while collecting four steals and three rebounds.
Following Saturday’s matchup, Lipscomb will hit the road for a three-game road swing beginning with Jacksonville on Thursday Jan. 16 at 6 p.m.