KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Nov. 19, 2014) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy women's basketball team let a 10-point halftime lead slip away, as the squad lost its season-opener to visiting Purchase College, 57-55, on Wednesday night at home in the Liebertz Gymnasium. The game came down to the final possession by USMMA with time running down, but a potential game-winning three-pointer was blocked to seal the victory for the Panthers.
Senior Demi VanDerWal (Springfield, Ill.) led the Mariners with 21 points on the night, while also bringing down seven rebounds. Freshmen Jenna Wetherington (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) and Myckenzie Toler (Prunedale, Calif.) both scored eight points in the loss. Wetherington brought down a game-high 13 rebounds and Toler added 11 boards.
As a team, the Mariners out-rebounded Purchase, 60-35, but committed 20 fouls to the Panthers' nine.
For Purchase, sophomore Allison Haugh led all players in the game with 27 points. Junior Elizabeth Osowiecki also scored in double-figures, as she tallied 13 points on the night. Her classmate Kristine Viven recorded a team-high eight rebounds.
USMMA led by as many as 13 points in the game, at 5:41 of the first half. VanDerWal had 17 of her 21 points in the opening half. The Panthers used a 10-minute stretch in the second half to turn a 10-point deficit into a 46-45 lead after a 16-5 run. They extended the advantage to as many as five points at 3:38 with Purchase taking a 54-49 lead.
The Mariners fought back to tie the game at 55-55 with 25 seconds to play when Wetherington hit a layup on the fourth shot of the possession. The Panthers responded with a jumper from close range on the right side by Viven with 17 ticks left on the clock. With its final possession, Merchant Marine got off a three-pointer as the clock wound down, but it was blocked by Purchase senior Jeidar Cole. A quick USMMA foul with 0.9 left on the clock and made free throw by Osowiecki ended the scoring for the night.
USMMA (0-1) is back in action this Saturday afternoon, Nov. 22, when the Mariners welcome in Berkeley College for a 2 p.m. tip at O'Hara Hall.
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