PURCHASE, N.Y. -- Demi VanDerWal came off the bench to score a team-high 15 points, but the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy could not overcome SUNY-Purchase, dropping a a 51-45 decision in a non-conference women's basketball game on Tuesday night.
The Merchant Marines found themselves in a 10-0 hole in the opening 3:08 before VanDerWal sank a three-point basket that started a personal seven-point run that moved the visitors within 10-7. VanDerWal scored the Mariners' opening 11 points 13 of her points in the first half.
The half ended with the Mariners trailing, 22-21, thanks to a basket by Heinrich with 26 seconds left.
The Mariners never led in the game, but battled the Panthers (3-2) close the rest of the way. The Academy came within one point twice, the last time at 24-23 on a Kaileh basket with 18:16 remaining in the game.
The hosts, however, slowly but surely added some space between themselves and the Mariners as they grabbed a 39-29 lead on three consecutive baskets by center Rachel Perrone with 8:05 remaining.
The Mariners would not give up. Kaileh scored five points, including a three-pointer, and VanDerWal and Kristina Walz added baskets during a 9-1 outburst over 1:41 to pull within 40-38 with 6:04 left.
Purchase managed to outscore the Merchant Marines the rest of the way, 11-7.
Rachel Perrone led the Panthers with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Alyse LaPadula added eight points, eight rebounds and a game-high seven assists. Alyssa Guido netted eight points and grabbed five rebounds.
The Merchant Marines outrebounded the Panthers, 53-42.
The Mariners return home to host Drew University in a Landmark Conference game on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the second game of a doubleheader. The men meet Drew at 2 p.m.
Photo: DemiVanDerWal sparked the Mariners with 15 points. Photo by Marcello.Cutti Jr. Starlight Illustrated