Mercy scored 20 points in a row over the second and third quarters Tuesday night en route to a 62-47 victory over the host Paul Laurence Dunbar girls' basketball team.
Malerie Martin, a 6-foot senior, led the 20th-rated Jaguars with 22 points. Hannah Bewley added 13.
The win was Mercy's fifth in a row and ninth in 10 games.
Dunbar (12-4) had a two-game winning streak snapped.
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Ezzy Ighodaro paced the Bulldogs with 15 points, with 11 coming in the fourth quarter.
Dunbar was behind 18-16 late in the first half, and had a chance to take the lead when Ighodaro shot a three-pointer that rattled in and out.
Mercy then closed the half on a 9-0 run to lead 27-16. Martin led the Jaguars with 11 points in the first half, including seven of the last nine.
Things only got worse for Dunbar in the third quarter, with Mercy scoring the first 11 points to lead 38-16. The Jaguars went on to win the quarter 24-5.
"That was probably our best third quarter all year," Mercy Coach Keith Baisch said. "That was impressive. And I think where it all started was our defense. Mixing up the presses, and then the half-court defenses. The main thing is the kids were keyed in to defense, and that's what we try to preach all the time is 'defense first.' Defense can create your offense, and that's kind of what happened. Our defense was making the plays, but then we were getting the outlets and really pushing the ball, and passing the ball extremely well."
Dunbar went scoreless for a stretch of 6:36 over the second and third quarters.
"Their ability to string together like that is really what makes them dangerous. ... Their length and athleticism is really tough," Dunbar Coach Sarah Bridenbaugh said. "I thought we did a good job breaking the press. We still let the press win a little bit, taking quick shots in the first half. But we settled down just a little bit in the second half. The fourth quarter, we finally figured out that we could play with them. I was proud of my girls for battling back. But we were just a little bothered by their athleticism and their ability to score in a hurry really took the wind out of our sails."
The Bulldogs played well in the fourth quarter, scoring the first 13 points to cut the deficit to 17. But they came no closer than the final score.
"The fourth quarter is probably some of the best basketball we've played," Bridenbaugh said. "And that's a sign of good things to come in the future. And we still have about six weeks until tournament time, and we've got to use these types of games that are ... tough games to move forward.
"Tonight we just kind of ran into some good offensive players, well-coached and they did a great job of finishing that one."
Mercy 62, Dunbar 47
MERCY (10-4) — Bewley 13, Anderson 9, Laemmle 6, Martin 22, Muthler 3, Schmitz 5, Stovall 4.
DUNBAR (12-4) — Herriford 5, Cecil 9, Ighodaro 15, Armstrong 1, Marrow 9, Rosen 2, Lakes 4, Humphreys 2.
Mercy 13 14 24 11—62
Dunbar 9 7 5 26—47