Bears not fazed by WNIT opponent Alabama

Mercer Head Coach Susie Gardner talks about the Bears' Thursday WNIT matchup with Alabama at Wednesday afternoon's practice. /(Luke Hetrick, WGXA)

With a shot that hit every part of the rim before bouncing out, the postseason fate for the Mercer Women's Basketball Team was decided almost instantaneously.

After Linnea Rosendal's game-winning-three-point attempt in the Southern Conference Tournament Championship against Chattanooga fell short, the Bears knew it was a repeat of last season and they were packing their bags for the WNIT. The scenario might be the same as last season, but make no mistake, this is a much different Mercer team that hit the floor this season.

Falling to Georgia Tech a season ago, the Bears drew a road matchup with Kristy Curry's Alabama Crimson Tide in the WNIT Thursday night. Unlike 2015-16, Mercer has the postseason experience and the resume to roll the Tide.

"We've had success in certain areas and a win over an SEC team would obviously be really great for this program," said Junior Guard Kahlia Lawrence. "We don't really get those a lot and I think that would be a good confidence booster for us right now."

With one of the toughest mid-major schedules in all of women's college basketball, Mercer took on five "Power 6" schools in the non-conference scoring wins over Illinois and Houston on the road. The preparation and success this season won't let Mercer blink against their SEC opponent.

"We're not really wowed by that anymore," Gardner said. "We respect Alabama. Don't get me wrong we have a lot of respect for what Kristy has done at Alabama in terms of building that thing back up. I think we'll be fine."

The Bears and Crimson Tide will meet Thursday 8:00 p.m. ET in Tuscaloosa.

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