Recap written by John Kelly Jr.
KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Jan. 31, 2019) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy women's basketball team outmuscled Skyline opponent St. Joseph's-Brooklyn 64-50, Thursday evening at the Liebertz Gymnasium. The Mariners move to 17-1 (13-1 Skyline) with the victory, as they tie the program-record for wins in a season which was set last year. The Bears fall to 13-8 (10-5 Skyline) with the loss.
Two USMMA players recorded double-doubles, as junior Kaleigh D'Arcy (White Plains, N.Y.) notched her first of the season with a team-high 25 points to go along with 13 rebounds. Freshman Lauren Hunter (Tinley Park, Ill.) and junior Taylor Hightower (White Plains, Md.) both grabbed a team-best 14 rebounds. Hunter registered her 15th double-double of the year, as she chipped in with 15 points. Hightower just missed out on a double-double, as she scored eight points and had four assists.
Junior Shelby Peters (El Dorado Hills, Calif.) distributed a team-high five assists, while also contributing nine points and bringing down seven boards.
The Mariners dominated the Bears on the boards, 58-33, while holding them to just 28% shooting from the field (19-for-66) on the night.
The Mariners got off to a fast start and led 7-0 at the 5:55 mark of the first quarter after a D'Arcy three-pointer. D'Arcy later increased the margin to 13-8 at 3:07 with another three, but St. Joseph's responded with a 6-0 run to trim the deficit to 14-13. Merchant Marine scored the last five points to close out the first quarter in front 19-13.
Both teams would tie the game up three times in the second, as SJC sophomore Kelly O'Donnell's jumper at 5:04 capped off a 9-3 run to knot it up at 22, and then senior Victoria Porcasi nailed a three at 3:14 to even the score at 25. Porcasi's layup at the 2:42 gave the Bears their first lead of the night, 27-25, and senior Caitlyn Staab extended it to 29-25 at 1:56. The Mariners closed out the second quarter with four-straight points to tie it for a third time, 29-29, at halftime.
St. Joseph's went ahead 32-29, early in the third when freshman Jamie Provino connected on a three at the 8:15. USMMA held St. Joseph's scoreless for next five minutes and constructed an 8-0 run to retake the lead, 37-32. After both teams traded two field goals and a set of free throws down the stretch, D'Arcy's lay-up with three seconds left pushed the Mariners ahead, 41-39, after three quarters.
Both teams traded buckets early in the fourth, Staab's layup at 7:54 helped the Bears go back in front, 45-43, but a free throw by Peters and then a layup by Hunter at 6:32 put the home team back in charge, 46-45. The Mariners would not look back, outscoring the visitors 20-5 the rest of the way to take it 64-50.
St. Joseph's-Brooklyn had two players score in double-figures, as senior Victoria Porcasi led the way with 14 points. Sophomore Kelly O'Donnell had a double-double, with team-best 11 rebounds and 13 points.
Up next, the Mariners will travel up to New London, Conn., on Monday, Feb. 4, for a non-conference showdown against arch-rival Coast Guard. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Bears' Rolland Hall. 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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