Game 3 - Mercer 67, Wofford 42
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The second-seeded Mercer Bears used a big third quarter to topple Wofford 67-42 in the quarterfinals of the Southern Conference Women’s Basketball Championships presented by General Shale. The Bears pulled away out-scoring the Terriers 25-12 in the period.
Keke Calloway led all scorers with 20 points off the bench for Mercer. Alex Williams added 14 points and eight rebounds, also in reserve, while Sydni Means tallied 13 points, six rebounds and nine assists. Chloe Wanink paced Wofford with 19 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Marissa Bayer got the Terriers within 10, 31-21, at intermission with a layup late in the second quarter. It would get no closer.
The Bears pulled away in impressive fashion in that third frame. They made 11 of 18 shots (.611) with eight assists and nary a turnover. It was more of a consistent extension of the lead than a quick burst.
They scored on 12 straight possessions with the lone miss coming in the final seconds on a wayward
jumper by Kahlia Lawrence. That gave Mercer a 23-point lead. It rose to as many as 25 points and was whittled to 20 once before settling on the 67-42 final.
The Bears await the winner of ETSU vs. Samford in the final game of the quarterfinals. They’ll meet at 1:15 p.m., Friday following Chattanooga and UNCG at the top of the bracket at 11 a.m.
Mercer (24-5) | Wofford (13-17)
Mercer: Out-scored Wofford 26 to 10 in the paint.
Wofford: 19 of the Terriers 42 points came from All-SoCon second team member Chloe Wanink.
Mercer: Bench nearly out-scored Wofford’s team with 34 points today led by Galloway’s game-high 20.
Wofford: The Terriers scored 127 points (42.3/game) in three meetings with Mercer, all losses.
Mercer is 9-1 all-time against Wofford…2-0 in SoCon Tourney.
Game 4 - Samford 67, ETSU 64
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Sixth-seeded Samford turned in the first upset of the Southern Conference Basketball Championships presented by General Shale. The Bulldogs toppled three seed ETSU 67-64 in an exciting finish provided by the Bucs’ Tianna Tarter.
The Bulldogs led by as many as 21 and were ahead 18, 50-32, with 2:03 to go in the third quarter. Tarter finished off the period with two free throws and a triple, cutting it to 13, 52-39, at the final break.
Shamauria Bridges started the fourth with a 3 and Tarter followed with seven points of her own as the Bucs’ 10-1 run to start the fourth made it a four-point game, 53-49. The onslaught continued with another triple from Tarter making it a one-point game, 60-59, at 3:27.
But the Bulldogs would not be denied. Brittany Stevens’ layup 32 seconds later followed an offensive rebound of a Kassidy Blevins missed free throw making it a two-possession contest.
Tarter wasn’t finished. She nailed her sixth 3 of the game, making it 63-62 with 2:39 left. Matching empty possessions preceded two Lydia McGee free throws, giving the Bulldogs a three-point cushion.
Both teams locked down on defense for a possession before the Bucs’ Sadasia Tipps sliced it to one, 65-64, with a layup with 38 seconds remaining. Samford worked the offense and got a Blevins layup with 18 seconds to go to put the pressure back on the Bucs.
There was no escaping from there. After a timeout, Tarter tried to work free. Her 3-pointer from the left wing was blocked by Blevins, ending the affair.
Thirty-one of Tarter’s 39 points came in the second-half charge. Samantha Fitzgerald had 16 points and four rebounds, including the Blevins free throw miss setting up the three-point possession with Stevens’ layup. Blevins added 14.
The semifinals are set. Chattanooga and UNCG open play Friday at 11 a.m., followed by Samford and Mercer at 1:15 p.m.
Samford (12-18) | ETSU (16-14)
ETSU: Tarter was 6-11 from 3pt range. The rest of the squad was 1-13 (7.7%).
Samford: Rebounding margin was -3 tonight, -19 (-9.5) in the season series. The Bulldogs were -5 for the season.
ETSU: Tarter’s 39 points is the second-most in school history behind Marsha Cowart’s 52 on Feb. 5, 1981, against Austin Peay. Her previous high was 35 against Vanderbilt in December.
Samford: 67 is the fourth-most points scored this season. Scored 57 and 56 in the two regular-season losses to the Bucs.
Samford leads the all-time series 5-3 … first tourney meeting.