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Jackson Pushes the Bears Past Defending Champions
LaToya Jackson helped the Bears upset defending champion ETSU. <i> Courtesy of Mercer athletics </i>
LaToya Jackson helped the Bears upset defending champion ETSU. Courtesy of Mercer athletics

Monday, December 08, 2008

MACON, Ga. - Mercer guard LaToya Jackson lifted the Bears into a tie for first place and shot to the top of the scoring charts with two stellar performances last week. Her combined 40 points against USC Upstate and defending A-Sun champion ETSU earned her a second-career Player of the Week award the conference announced Monday.

The Oklahoma City, native played a vital role in upsetting the Lady Bucs, leading the team with 21 points, four assists, and hitting a career-best 12 of her 14 shots from the charity stripe. With two steals and three 3-pointers to her credit, the junior was on the floor for all but two minutes of Mercer's convincing 77-61 win against ETSU.

Jackson helped ensure a perfect 2-0 start to the A-Sun season for the Bears with an impressive performance against USC Upstate as well. Clinging to a two-point halftime lead against Spartans, the communications major hit back-to-back three pointers to start an 11-0 run that broke open the close game. Jackson finished with a team-best 19 points, four three-pointers and 7-of-8 shooting from the foul line in the 79-75 win.

The Atlantic Sun Conference is an 11-member league committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun stands for achievement with integrity in both the academic and athletic arenas, with a focus on the balance between the two for our student-athletes. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.

Other Top Performers:
Jessica Bobbitt, Belmont (P -- Trenton, Tenn. -- Sr. -- Nursing) -- Senior Jessica Bobbitt's pair of double-doubles helped the Belmont women's basketball team go undefeated on its first Atlantic Sun road trip over the weekend. Against Jacksonville, she dropped in 14 points and pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds. She also collected six blocks, two steals and two assists against the Dolphins. Two days later at UNF, the Trenton, Tenn., native matched her career-high of 16 rebounds with 14 points. She also notched three steals, three blocks and one assist.

Regina Omoite, Jacksonville (G -- Miami, Fla. -- Sr. -- Accounting) -- Omoite was the consistent presence for the Dolphins last week as JU split its opening conference weekend. In a heartbreaking loss to Belmont, Omoite finished with seven points, seven rebounds and three assists as JU fell 51-45. The Dolphins bounced back against Lipscomb as Omoite led the squad with 13 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. It was the third double-double of her career and the rebounding total was also a career-high. For the week, Omoite averaged 10 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and one steal while shooting .318 from the floor.

Sharnesha Smith, Stetson (G -- Kingsland, Ga. -- Sr. -- Sport Management) -- Smith scored 16 of her season-high 20 points after halftime and handed out eight assists to lead the Hatters to a 77-68 win over Florida Gulf Coast at the Edmunds Center Thursday night in the A-Sun opener for both teams. Smith leads the Atlantic Sun with 5.33 assists per game and is also the league's leader in minutes per game.