MACON, Ga. (School Release) - The Mercer women's basketball team won its ninth-straight game, and in the process clinched a spot in the upcoming 2013 Atlantic Sun Championship, with a 51-49 victory over North Florida on Saturday afternoon at Hawkins Arena.
Down one with just 21 seconds left in the game, sophomore Precious Bridges weaved her way through the North Florida defense and drilled a mid-range jumper to give Mercer the thrilling last-second win.
Mercer's (15-7, 9-2 A-Sun) current nine-game winning streak is now the longest since the program turned Division I and is tied for the 13th longest active winning streak in the nation.
Saturday's win also means that the Bears will once again experience postseason basketball, as they secured a spot in the A-Sun Championship for the first time since the 2009-10 season.
Senior Ry'van Buchanan led three Bears in double figures with 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field. Junior Kendra Grant also chipped in with 15 points in the win.
The Ospreys jumped out of the gates in a flash, using a three-pointer by senior Jadhken Kerr to take a 14-4 lead with 12:44 left in the first half.
Mercer would slowly chip away at UNF's advantage, however, using a Grant lay-in just before half to tie things up at 23-23 going into the locker room.
The Bears continued to surge offensively coming out of halftime, starting the second half on a 19-10 run. A jumper by Grant saw Mercer take a 42-33 lead with just over eight minutes remaining in the contest.
North Florida fought its way back into the game though, using five-straight points by junior Ki Conner to tie the score at 46-46 with 1:41 left in the game.
The two teams traded buckets over the next two possessions; with Kerr drilling a three-pointer to give the Ospreys a 49-48 lead which eventually set the stage for Bridges last second heroics.
Mercer tries to push its winning streak up to double-digits when it hosts Jacksonville on February 11. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Hawkins Arena and will be featured as the Bears annual "Play4Kay" event.