TSU women’s team downs Mercer 82-74 in conference play

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 11, 2001

Sports Editor

After dropping three of their last four games, the Troy State women’s basketball team managed an 82-74 win over Mercer on Saturday in Trojan Arena.

The victory came after a convincing 73-42 bashing of Birmingham-Southern on Thursday night and improved the Lady Trojans to 11-10 overall and 6-6 in Trans America Athletic Conference play.

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Mercer (4-17 overall, 1-11 TAAC) led 35-31 at the half mainly because TSU missed easy layups under the basket and the Lady Trojans outside game was a virtual no-show.

And TSU women’s head coach Jerry Hester admitted that the Lady Bears could have put the game out of reach in the first half if only they had hit their free throws.

Mercer went to the line 15 times before intermission, but managed just five points.

Hester also admitted that at halftime he was less then pleased with his team’s enthusiasm.

Or lack thereof.

"I don’t know where our intensity level was in the first half, but it was obvious that it wasn’t there," he said. "We played well on Thursday night and I don’t know if we celebrated too much and didn’t recover, but we weren’t into this game that much in the first half."

The Lady Bears led by as many as seven before the break, but in the opening minutes of the second half, freshmen center Thea Herring responded for Troy State. After scoring just four points in the first half, Herring totaled 10 of the Lady Trojans next 14 points, giving her team its first lead of the ball game with 15:32 left, 41-39.

Mercer inserted their tallest player, Meagan Fannon, into the middle as an attempt to halt the 6-foot-3 Herring’s and the Lady Trojans’ momentum.

Fannon saw just one minute of game action.

After Herring’s initial burst, forwards Tomekia Golatte and Kenya Young took over. Both players also finished in double figures, each with 12, and Golatte led Troy State in rebounding with 10 boards.

"I think Thea probably thought at the half that I was going to kill her," said Hester, joking. "And it’s like I told her after the game that I don’t need to have to come in here and talk to her that way. She needs to come out with her intensity level up and at the top of her game. And I hope she’ll do that, because she’s a talented player and we’re very proud to have her here."

Still Mercer battled back. back-to-back baskets by Tracy Henry tied the game up at 45-45 and then the Lady Bears reclaimed a slim lead on a free throw by Jo Jo Carter with 11:07 remaining.

At that point, Hester wasn’t shy about taking his starters off the court and putting in his reserves.

"I thought we had hit a wall there and had lost our intensity level again," he said. "We liked the way that group was playing on the court in reserve and we were able to stay in our zone with them."

The reserves fought Mercer to a 53-53 tie before Haley Konrad gave the Lady Trojans the lead for good, when she was fouled on a layup attempt. The basket fell as did the free throw and a minute later, Jennifer Mcinnis pushed the lead to five points on baseline jumper, 58-53.

With 4:22 left, Golatte gave Troy State a 68-57 advantage, when she hit four straight free throws.

The Lady Trojans will be in action at home against Florida Atlantic this Thursday night at 7 p.m. and will finish the four game homestand against Central Florida on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Trojan Arena.