USMMA Falls in Season Finale at Susquehanna, 65-59
Selinsgrove, PA – The USMMA women's basketball team came out on the wrong side of a hotly contested Landmark Conference game in their season finale Saturday afternoon at Susquehanna. Senior Tamara Kaileh (Kings Park, NY) recorded a double-double, 17 points and 10 rebounds, in her final collegiate game. Classmate Roshenda Josephs (Culpeper, VA) pulled down a game high 14 rebounds and added to her newly acquired single-season conference record with five steals.
Susquehanna (8-17, 3-11 Landmark) closed the game with a 5-0 spurt, including a key three-pointer from Mariah Monahan with 38 seconds remaining in regulation. Monahan finished the game with 15 points but the home team was paced by the game high 26-point performance of Shannon Grunwald.
Merchant Marine (12-13, 3-11 Landmark) owned the edge on the glass, 53-50, and in forced turnovers, 23-20, but eventually had its five game winning streak snapped. Both teams spent a lot of time on the free throw line as the Mariners posted a 68.8 percent (22-32) mark at the charity stripe while Susquehanna made 24-of-35 (68.6%) of its attempts. Sara Ellenberger (Phoenix, AZ) had a big game for the Mariners off the bench as she tallied 13 points and eight rebounds.
The Mariners opened up a 24-15 advantage with just under five minutes to play in the first half on the strength of an 8-2, which was fueled by a three-point play from Kristina Walz (Monona, IA). The Crusaders would chip away at the deficit and only trailed USMMA by four, 30-26, as the two sides headed into halftime.
Susquehanna took its first lead since midway through the first half with a Gina Palazzi free throw at the 10:11 mark of the second period, making it a 42-41 affair. The Crusaders would go on to engineer a 10-2 run that ended on a Grunwald trifecta to push the lead to 54-46 with 5:34 to play.
The Mariners immediately responded with seven straight points, all coming from the foul line, as USMMA made seven consecutive free throws. Ellenberger again made it a one-point contest with an offensive rebound and put-back as Susquehanna was left clinging to a 60-59 cushion with 2:08 to play. However, that would be the final basket for USMMA as Palazzi stuck a jumper on the next trip up the floor before Monahan's final blow with 38 seconds on the clock.
Merchant Marine closes the season having won five of its last six and improving last season's overall win total by two games.