KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Jan. 18, 2018) – The USMMA women's basketball team used a strong second half to defeat visiting Old Westbury, 62-61, for a key Skyline Conference victory on Thursday night at the Liebertz Gymnasium. The win improves the Mariners' record to 12-4 (8-3 Skyline), while the Panthers fall to 13-2 (7-2 Skyline) with the loss.
A photo gallery of Thursday's game can be viewed at this link.
Sophomore Kaleigh D'Arcy (White Plains, N.Y.) led all players in the game with 20 points, including the game-winning layup with 11 seconds left. She shot 7-for-10 from the field and was 5-for-6 from the line and also recorded three rebounds, two steals and a game-high five blocked shots.
Freshman Kiana Vega (El Paso, Texas) was also integral to the victory down the stretch, as seven of her 14 total points came in the fourth quarter. Senior Gabrielle Salazar (Memphis, Tenn.) chipped in with nine points and five steals, classmate Tichina Carmon (Greenville, N.C.) had seven points and sophomore Shelby Peters (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) added eight points and a team-best 11 rebounds on the night to go along with four blocks. Off the bench, sophomore Taylor Hightower (White Plains, Md.) contributed four points and six boards.
The Mariners led 21-16 after the first quarter, but failed to score another point until the 1:25 mark of the second quarter, as Old Westbury used a 19-5 run in the frame to take a 35-26 advantage into the halftime break.
The Panthers' lead hit a game-high 13 points at 7:50 of the third when a free throw made the score 40-27 in favor of the visitors. Merchant Marine went on a 10-2 run to cut the deficit down to five before Old Westbury built their advantage back up to 11 (48-37) at 3:06. The Mariners finished the third on an 8-0 run and trailed by just three, 48-45, at the end of the quarter.
USMMA took its first lead since early in the second at 6:38 of the fourth on a pair of free throws by Salazar that made it 53-52. However, OW took the lead right back just 15 seconds later and scored the next five-straight to take a 57-53 lead at 4:36. Back-to-back baskets by Vega and Peters tied the score up at 57-all at 3:02.
From there, a pair of layups by the Panthers put them back up, 61-57, at 1:21. After the two teams failed to score on the next two possessions, Vega was fouled while taking a three-pointer with just 21 seconds left and nailed all three free throws to make it a one-point game.
The Mariners fouled on the ensuing possession and Old Westbury failed to make either of their free throws, with Peters grabbing down the board with 19 seconds to play. After a timeout, the Mariners went to D'Arcy, who took the ball from the top of the key down the right side, through defenders and up for the layup. The Panthers burnt a timeout of their own and missed what would have been a game-winning layup as time was winding down and Peters earned another rebound and dished it to an open Vega, who dribbled out the remainder of the time.
In the end, USMMA connected on 38.9 percent (21-of-54) from the floor, 20 percent (3-of-15) from 3-point range and 89.5 percent (17-of-19) from the free-throw line. By comparison, Old Westbury hit on 39.4 percent (28-of-71) from the floor, 20 percent (1-of-5) from beyond the arc and 30.8 percent (4-of-13) from the charity stripe. The Panthers won the boards battle, 47-31, while scoring 15 second-chance points off of 24 offensive rebounds. USMMA scored 20 points off 22 Old Westbury turnovers. The visitors held the edge in assists (13-8), points in the paint (48-24), bench points (14-4) and steals (12-10), while USMMA finished with a 10-5 advantage in blocks.
The Panthers were led by junior Charlotte Renker, who recorded a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 16 rebounds. Senior Bridgid McNeill ended the day with 10 points and the rest of the Old Westbury starters all contributed eight points each – senior Destiny Marino and juniors Tori Bellings and Monique Joseph. Bellings also dished out a game-high five assists, while Joseph led all players with six steals. Sophomore Davida Warren chipped in with nine points off the bench.
The Mariners will not compete this weekend and will return to action next Wednesday night, Jan. 24, for a non-conference tilt against arch-rival Coast Guard. Tipoff against the Bears is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Liebertz Gymnasium. Live stats and a live video feed of the game will be available with links on the USMMA Women's Basketball Schedule Page.
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