Madison, NJ – The United States Merchant Marine Academy Mariners (12-12, 3-10) defeated the Rangers of Drew University (9-15, 5-8) by a score of 66-58 Wednesday night in Madison, NJ.
Sophomore guard Demi VanDerWal (Springfield, IL), senior captain Roshenda Josephs (Culpeper, VA), and sophomore forward Rebecca Resor (Bay St. Louis, MS) provided the majority of USMMA's offense; totaling 29, 15, and 15 points respectively, accounting for 59 of Merchant Marine's 66 points.
VanDerWal seems to have an affinity for Baldwin Gymnasium, as two of her three career-high 29 point games have come at that venue. Her 29 points is the highest single-game total for Merchant Marine this season and bolsters her scoring average to an even 10.0 in Landmark Conference games during the 2012-13 campaign.
Josephs notched her third double-double of the season with an impressive 15 point and 20 rebound effort, setting an academy record for most rebounds in a game. Although she only grabbed two steals on the night, it was good enough to take sole possession of the USMMA single-season steals record as well as the Landmark Conference single-season steals record.
The opening minutes of the contest were tightly contested as a Resor layup put the Mariners on the board first. Although Merchant Marine would not relinquish a lead in the game, Drew kept on the heels of the Mariners in the early minutes of the first half.
After Drew brought the score to within two (7-5) at the 11:36 mark, USMMA went on a 7-1 run capped by a Josephs layup to open an eight point advantage.
The Rangers were able to keep Kings Point within single digits until a scoring explosion [which included three-pointers from both VanDerWal and freshman guard Marlee Chovich (Oregon City, OR)] in the final four minutes of the half extended the Mariner lead to 19 heading into the break as they went on a 14-3 run to close the opening frame.
Drew began to chip away at the Mariner lead in the second half as Merchant Marine hit a dry spell which kept them off the scoreboard for a full five minutes of play.
A three-pointer by Rangers' senior guard Whitney Mackay (Suffield, CT) brought the Drew deficit down to 50-42 with 7:05 left to play.
Over the next six minutes, VanDerWal tallied all 11 of USMMA's points to keep the Rangers at bay.
In the final 1:01 of regulation, the Mariners did a much better job of converting their free throws than they did at Coast Guard; knocking down seven of their 10 attempts to ice the game.
The victory gives Merchant Marine their longest win streak in eight seasons as they haven't won five consecutive games since November-December of 2005. Kings Point also broke a seven game skid against the Rangers as they hadn't previously beaten Drew since February of 2009.
The Mariners will look to achieve their first winning season since the 2008-09 campaign as they face the Crusaders of Susquehanna University (7-17, 2-11 LC) on Saturday Feb. 13 at 2:00 PM in Selinsgrove, PA.