It's not often you can come away from a 23-point loss feeling good.
However, Merced had no reason to lose heart after dropping a 67-44 loss to McNair on Friday night at Merced High. The Eagles came into the game undefeated at 13-0, outscoring their opponents by an average of 31 points per game.
But McNair was different. It attacked the Bears with a variety of full-court presses, forcing Merced into 48 turnovers.
"We knew about them," said Merced senior Tekerra Borden, who led the Bears with 21 points and eight rebounds. "We picked it up. We didn't get down."
The Eagles made 11 3-pointers, including six from Alyssa Soulyalangsy (18 points).
"A team like this is a measuring stick," Merced coach Brad Reed said. "We're closing out on threes, but they're a half step behind the line. We gave them a couple good looks in the first half. (Soulyalangsy) killed us a couple times."
Still, the Bears only trailed 32-20 at the half. Merced was helped out by McNair only making 6 of 21 shots from beyond the arc in the first two quarters.
Borden and Dalonna Jones did their best to keep Merced in the game. Jones had six points and nine rebounds in the first half and finished with 10 points and 16 rebounds in the game.
Jones also had the challenge of guarding McNair's 6-foot-4 junior Mandy Coleman, who played point guard much of the game.
Coleman finished just short of a triple-double with 19 points, 15 rebounds and nine steals.
The Eagles finally took control of the game at the start of the second half with a quick 7-0 run to start the third quarter that opened up a 39-20 lead.
After staying in a zone defense in the first half and forcing McNair to shoot from outside, Merced went to a man defense and paid the price.
The Eagles also turned up the pressure on the defensive end.
Brittany Butler added 17 points with the help of three treys for McNair.
Merced received a scare early in the fourth quarter when Borden went down with an injury to her left heel.
The Bears had only seven players in uniform to start with. Borden did return to the game a couple minutes later.
"We can't afford to lose any other players," Reed said. "(Borden) spends too much time on the floor as it is. It's good it wasn't her knee or something like that."
The Bears play Modesto today at 3:30 p.m. at Golden Valley before the start of Central California Conference play next week.