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February 22, 2014

Women's Basketball Celebrates Senior Day; Falls to Crusaders, 80-68

Kings Point, NY - The USMMA women's basketball team wrapped up the 2013-14 season Saturday afternoon on Senior Day against Susquehanna.  Kristina Walz (Manona, IA), Alexandra Winfree (Millstone, NJ), and Katie Franchois (Perkasie, PA) were all honored before tip-off.  Walz ended her collegiate career with a strong 17-point, seven-rebound outing but the Crusaders ultimately ended up with the win, 80-68.

Merchant Marine (4-20, 0-14 Landmark) found itself in an early 13-4 hole but rallied to take a 17-15 lead following a Rachel Wehlburg (Herndon, VA) layup that forced the visitors to call timeout.  The 13-2 surge was fueled by a trio of three-pointers, including one from Winfree and the last two off the hand of Demi VanDerWal (Springfield, IL).  VanDerWal closed the afternoon with a team high 19 points as well as racking up six rebounds, two assists, and three steals.

Susquehanna (12-12, 6-8 Landmark) would score the next 15 points and eventually opened up a 37-19 cushion on an Eleni Dimou three-ball.  The Crusaders were led by the 20 points of Jonaida Williams as the team shot 43.1 percent from the field.  The momentum would swing back in the favor of USMMA with the Mariners engineering an 11-2 spurt to close the period as a VanDerWal trey sent the home team down only nine, 39-30, at halftime.

The Crusaders quickly opened up a double-digit lead to start the second half but the Mariners would again reel in their Landmark Conference rival.  Julie Mall (Gilbertsville, PA) struck for an offensive rebound and layup to make it 54-47, SU, with 12:23 remaining.  Susquehanna would go to its press defense and grew its advantage to 74-57.  USMMA committed total turnovers which led to 19 fast break points for the Crusaders.

Merchant Marine would get no closer than 10 points down the stretch and Susquehanna claimed the season finale for both teams, 80-68.  USMMA closed the year with second-best shooting performance of 2013-14, making 24-55 (43.6%) from the field.