ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) - Jaron Dougherty had 19 points, 11 rebounds and six steals, Amoria Neal-Tysor added 16 points and No. 2 seed Mercer used a 28-0 run to ease past fourth-seeded Wofford 60-38 on Sunday to claim the Southern Conference tournament title and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Mercer (19-6) won its third SoCon title in the past four years - with the lone exception last season when Samford claimed it. The Bears didn’t have to face the defending champions in the tournament this season - after losing twice in the regular season - because the top-seeded Bulldogs were upset in the first round by ETSU.
Wofford (13-11) made program history by playing in its first SoCon championship game.
Neal-Tysor was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after leading Mercer through the first two rounds, scoring 27 and a career-high 34 points. Neal-Tysor struggled in the first half against Wofford, scoring just five points on 2-of-8 shooting, but she made four baskets and scored nine points during an 18-0 run to start the third quarter.
Dougherty scored six points during Mercer’s 8-0 run to close the first half for a 27-18 lead.
Wofford had just 24 points through three quarters - as Mercer scored 28 unanswered - going scoreless for 14-plus minutes.
Helen Matthews scored nine points for Wofford, which shot just 24.5%.
Jada Lewis added 13 points for Mercer, and Shannon Titus grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked four shots. Titus was named the SoCon defensive player of the year for the second straight season - the fourth to do so in conference history.
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