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February 3, 2012

Mariners Squeak by Goucher, Earn Fourth Landmark Win

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy defeated Goucher College 67-64 last night in a much needed road victory.  The contest went down to the wire, but in the end, the Mariner's clutch free throw shooting down the stretch decided the game.

Freshman guard Demi Van Der Wal led all scorers with 24 points and  freshman forward Rebecca Resor was one board away from a double-double amassing 10 points and nine rebounds.  The majority of the Mariner's scoring came from the starting five as their reserves only accounted for five of the Mariner's 67 points.  Junior guards Tamara Kaileh and Roshenda Josephs (pictured right) also contributed 13 and 12 points respectively.

The Gophers were led by sophomore guard Precious Kollock who had 17 points and sophomore forward TaQuasia Lambert who scored 14.  Their bench contributed 24 points including 13 from sophomore guard Sharnell Huff.  Free throw shooting ended up being the difference in the contest as the Mariners bested the Gophers from the foul line 73.1% to 65.4%.

The first half was tightly contested as neither team held a lead greater than six.  The Mariners held a four point advantage near the end of the first half; however, two free throws by Kollock with four seconds remaining narrowed the margin to two.  The Gophers would score the first two points of the second half to knot the game 25-25 with just about one minute gone by in the period.

Kings Point would open a 38-29 lead, their largest of the game with 13:04 remaining in regulation after heating up on a 13-4 run.  Goucher spent the rest of the half on the comeback trail closing the gap to 62-60 with 21 seconds remaining by means of a Kollock layup.

It was Kollock who missed a wide open layup in the closing seconds of the last matchup between these two teams which would've iced the game for the Gophers in an eventual double overtime loss to the Mariners.  She redeemed herself in this game by making three clutch shots in the final 21 seconds of regulation to keep the Gophers nipping at USMMA's heels.

The Mariners were able to respond in kind by sinking their own pressure shots as they hit six of their last seven free throw attempts in the waning seconds to close out the 67-64 victory.      

With the win, the Mariners improve to 8-11 overall and 4-6 in Landmark Conference play.  Their next matchup is Saturday afternoon at 2:00 PM at Catholic University of America as they continue to race for the final Landmark playoff spot.      

Photo by Shawn Antonelli