The Bears faced Samford University at Hawkins Arena on Jan. 29 and defeated the Bulldogs 73-66.
The score was close throughout the entire first quarter, but the Bears were able to pull away in the beginning of the second with a three-pointer from Erin Houpt. Houpt would go on to have 25 of Mercer’s 66 points, leading both teams in points. The Bulldogs would tie the game with 2:34 to go and were leading 34-33 going into halftime.
Samford held the lead for the first four minutes of the third quarter, but a pair of threes from Houpt put Mercer back on top. The game was neck and neck throughout the rest of that quarter, but with a layup from Shannon Titus and a jumper from Nigeria Harkless, the Bears were up by eight going into the fourth. Titus and Harkless scored a combined 12 points and 11 rebounds in the game.
With less than three minutes to go in the fourth quarter the Bears were down 63-66, but Houpt came through again with a three-pointer to tie the game and gave Mercer hope. An offensive rebound from Titus would set Houpt up to hit yet another three and about a minute later she nailed both free throws, making the score 71-66 with 19 seconds to go. The Bulldogs were unable to come back from that deficit and Mercer won 73-66.
The team then traveled to Tennessee and played Chattanooga Feb. 3, then played Eastern Tennessee State University on Saturday.
They beat Chattanooga 59-53 and remained in control for the entirety of the game. There were times early on when the score was tied, but the Bears never fell behind.
Neal-Tysor had an impressive game with 25 points, eight rebounds and a couple of assists. Titus had an impressive 12 rebounds for the night, three assists and five blocks. As a team, Mercer went 41.8% from the field, 62.5% from behind the arc, and 53.3% from the free-throw line.
Coming off their win on Thursday night, the team was determined to keep the winning streak alive. They beat ETSU 82-48 to achieve a four-game winning streak, making their SoCon record 8-1.
Neal-Tysor had another great scoring game with 29 points, followed by Houpt with 22 and Titus with 18 points. Neal-Tysor and Titus had a combined 13 rebounds, five assists and five blocks.
This win gave the team a big confidence boost that they will use this Thursday in their game against Western Carolina University. They beat the Catamounts last time they faced them in January, but it is tough to beat a team twice.