NEW LONDON, Conn. (Jan. 29, 2015) – Despite a strong second half, the USMMA women's basketball team lost to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 76-69, on Thursday night at the Bears' Roland Hall. The Mariners fall to 2-15 overall on the season, while USCGA improves to 10-7.
Senior Demi VanDerWal (Springfield, Ill.) scored a season-best 28 points, tallying 22 of those in the second half. Freshman Myckenzie Toler (Prunedale, Calif.) contributed 12 points, which was the first double-digit scoring performance of her young career, while classmate Tichina Carmon (Greenville, N.C.) added 10 points and matched the team-high with five rebounds.
Three players scored in double-figures for Coast Guard. Junior Meghan Fornaro and senior Leigha Steinbeck both tallied 18 points and junior Torie Sutherland recorded 11 points, while matching the game-high with seven rebounds.
Coast Guard jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first two minutes connecting on its first four shots. The Bears made nine of their first 11 field goals and led 21-8 with 12:16 left in the first half. The Mariners went on an 8-2 run to cut the deficit to 23-16 after a bucket by freshman Jenna Wetherington (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) with 8:17 left in the opening half. However, Coast Guard responded with an 11-2 run and the Bears took a 34-18 lead with 4:30 left. Coast Guard held that 16-point lead, 41-25, into the halftime break.
The Bears led by as many as 22 points in the second half (47-25 with 17:44 to go in the game) before the Mariners, behind the shooting of VanDerWal went on a 15-2 run to make the score 49-40 with 10:56 left. VanDerWal had 10 of the 15 points including a pair of three-pointers. The Mariners would not get closer than seven points the rest of the way, however, as clutch free-throw shooting down the line for the Bears helped them secure the victory.
Coast Guard shot 44.1 percent from the field (26-59) and made 6 of 26 from behind the arc while the Mariners were 23 of 56 from the floor (31.1 percent) while staying in the game shooting 58.8 percent (10 of 17) from 3-point range. Coast Guard held a 42-28 edge on the glass in the win with 18 offensive rebounds.
Merchant Marine returns to action this Saturday, Jan. 31, with a Landmark Conference game at Goucher down in Towson, Md. Game time is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the Gophers' Decker Sports and Recreation Center.
(Note: Parts of Coast Guard's recap was used in this article)