For the fourth time in five years, head coach Susie Gardner, the Southern Conference (SoCon) Coach of the Year, is leading her women’s basketball team to the NCAA Tournament.
After winning the SoCon regular-season championship with a 13-1 mark, the Bears slammed Western Carolina, Samford and Furman in the Southern Conference Championship at Asheville, North Carolina, March 3-6, by an average margin of 29 points a game.
The Paladins were the only conference foe to defeat Mercer in the regular season, but the Bears came back to not only defeat Furman late in the regular season and again 73-54 in the tournament championship game. The Bears, after being down one point following a desperation three-point shot by Furman to close out the first half, outscored the Paladins 30-4 in the third quarter to seal the deal.
Senior guard Amoria Neal-Tysor was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.
The Bears will find out where they will be headed next week and their first foe during the NCAA Women’s Tournament Selection Show at 8 p.m. March 13 on ESPN.
A Selection Show Watch Party will be held that night for Mercer fans in Hawkins Arena. The doors will open at 7:30 p.m., and the public is invited to attend.
Baseball defeats ranked opponents on back-to-back Tuesdays
Meanwhile, head coach Craig Gibson’s baseball team is off to a blistering start to the 2022 season.
Taking advantage of hosting their first 17 games in the friendly confines of OrthoGeorgia Park/Claude Smith Field, the Bears are 12-1 thus far. Included in that stretch was coach Gibson’s 600th career victory as the skipper for the Bears.
Even more impressive is back-to-back Tuesday night wins over ranked opponents from the Atlantic Coast Conference. Even more impressive again is the manner in which the Bears have won.
On Tuesday, March 1, Mercer earned a walk-off win against No. 10 Florida State 6-5 in the 11th inning.
A week later, on Tuesday, March 8, coach Gibson’s squad again walked off with a 5-4 win over No. 13 Georgia Tech in the bottom of the ninth.
The Bears will resume play at home on March 11 against Saint Peter’s University.