Mercer girls fall in LIT semifinal

February 01, 2004

LOUISVILLE - The Mercer County reached the semifinals of the Louisville Invitational before falling 73-57 to No. 5 Christian County on Saturday morning.

Mercer (15-6) defeated Mercy 76-71 in a Friday night quarterfinal, arriving home at about 1 a.m. and getting little rest before an 11:30 a.m. tipoff Saturday against Christian.

"We were playing probably the most athletic team in the state, and we just hit the wall," Mercer coach Chris Souder said. "We lost our legs in the second quarter. The last three minutes of the second quarter, they just went on a tear."

Christian (19-2) outscored the Lady Scotties 29-11 in the second quarter to take a 42-23 halftime lead.

Mercer cut the margin to single digits in the second half, but Souder said Christian answered every run to secure its fourth victory over the Lady Scotties in the last two seasons.


Sophomore center Arnica Brown led the Lady Colonels with 25 points and 16 rebounds.

"We didn't have an answer for that," Souder said.

Mercer got 20 points, eight steals and seven assists from Courtney Watts. Erin Ashford added 16 points, while Erica Lee had eight of its 27 rebounds and Jillian Horn had six.

The Lady Scotties shot 31.7 percent (20-for-63) from the field and went 12-for-18 at the free-throw line. They had 12 steals, 16 assists and 18 turnovers.

Mercer avenged a loss in its season opener by beating Mercy 76-71 on Friday. Mercy defeated the Lady Scotties 74-63 on Dec. 6.

Mercer used an 18-8 advantage in the third quarter, part of a larger 32-8 run, to erase a nine-point deficit and grab the lead from Mercy in the rematch.

Courtney Watts hit eight consecutive free throws in the third and fourth quarter to help Mercer to the win.

"It was a big win for us to come back and beat them," Souder said. "We played just a great second half."

Watts and Ashford each scored 18 points, while Chelsea Goodman had 14.

Mercer was 23-for-52 from the field, including 7-for-15 on 3-pointers, and had 17 assists and 19 steals.

Souder said the LIT experience would be good for the Lady Scotties.

"Win or lose, this'll help us in March," he said. "We'll definitely get something out of it."

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