KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Feb. 14, 2015) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy women's basketball team picked up their second straight victory, and third in the past four games, with a 72-59 home win over Landmark Conference foe Juniata on Saturday at O'Hara Hall. Prior to the game, the Mariners wore pink warm-up shirts in honor of Think Pink Day.
With the win, Merchant Marine improves to 6-17 (2-12 Landmark), while the Eagles fall to 8-15 (6-8 Landmark) in defeat.
Senior Demi VanDerWal (Springfield, Ill.) led all players with 24 points, while also bringing down seven rebounds and recording a team-best four assists and three steals. Freshman Tichina Carmon (Greenville, N.C.) registered a double-double with 16 points and game-high 10 rebounds and classmate Myckenzie Toler (Prunedale, Calif.) contributed 13 points.
Down 6-4 at 17:35, the Mariners rattled off a 17-0 run over the next seven-plus minutes to take a commanding 21-6 lead. Juniata try to chip away at the home lead for the remainder of the half, eventually getting it down to just one, 29-28, at 2:03 and again with 18 seconds remaining (31-30), but a good free throw by freshman Samantha Drake (Centereach, N.Y.) at 10 seconds gave USMMA a 32-30 lead that it took into the locker for halftime. Drake ended the game with nine points and seven boards.
In the first two-plus minutes of the second half, the Mariners built their lead up to seven points, 38-31, but a 7-0 run by the Eagles tied the game up at 38 at 15:45. VanDerWal drained a three shortly after to put Merchant Marine back ahead for what would wind up being the remainder of the game. The advantage hit double-digits again at 7:21 after a pair of free throws by Toler. The lead never fell below four points for the rest of the action, as the Mariners sealed their second Landmark win of the season.
Juniata was led by sophomore Olivia Halfpenny, who notched 13 points and eight rebounds, while junior Maria Photiades added 11 points.
The Mariners return to action on Monday evening with their final road conference game of the season, a trip to Bethlehem, Pa., to face Moravian College. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the Greyhounds' Johnston Hall.