Beyond the Scoreboard: Mercer, ETSU win women’s semifinal games

Mercer will be going after its first Southern Conference tournament title Sunday at U.S. Cellular Center.

WLOS - Top seed Mercer and No. 2 seed East Tennessee State will play for the Southern Conference Women’s Championship at noon on Sunday after both won their semifinal matchups Friday at U.S. Cellular Center.

Regular-season champion Mercer (29-2) defeated No. 5 Samford 81-44 for the Bears’ 26th consecutive win. The Bears, who have won all 16 games this season against SoCon opponents, got 23 points from three-time SoCon Player of the Year Kahila Lawrence.

Former Hayesville High standout Amanda Thompson added 11 points and six rebounds for the Bears, who shot 59 percent from the floor.

Olivia Crozier scored 13 and Hannah Nichols finished with 12 for Samford (15-16).

East Tennessee State edged No. 6 UNC Greensboro 54-52 in Friday’s other semifinal. Tianna Tarter gave the Bucs (20-11) a 53-52 lead with a basket with 23 seconds left and Britney Snowden sank a free throw with nine seconds remaining for the final margin.

The Spartans’ Te’ja Twitty missed a potential game-tying basket at the buzzer. Tarter led ETSU with 17 points and Haynes-Overton added 16.

Ije Ajemba scored 14 points for Greensboro while Twitty and Nadine Soliman had 11 points each.

Neither program has ever won a SoCon tourney title. ETSU is 0-4 in the finals, the latest in 2015. Mercer has lost the last two SoCon finals to Chattanooga.

Sunday’s final will be televised by ESPN3.

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