KINGS POINT, N.Y (Feb. 21, 2015) – Prior to Saturday's season-finale against visiting Goucher, the USMMA women's basketball team paid tribute to its two graduating seniors, Sara Ellenberger (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Demi VanDerWal (Springfield, Ill.), with a special Senior Day Ceremony. On the court, the Mariners lost to the Gophers by the final score of 76-72. Merchant Marine ends the 2014-15 campaign with a 6-19 record, including a 2-14 mark in Landmark action, while Goucher improved to 5-19 (1-15 Landmark).
VanDerWal led all players in the game with 26 points and also brought down a season-high nine rebounds. She also recorded a team-high four assists and three steals. Sophomore Julie Mall (Littlestown, Pa.) contributed 12 points and freshman Tichina Carmon (Greenville, N.C.) registered her team-best sixth double-double of the season with 10 points and a game-high 11 boards.
Three players scored in double-figures for the Gophers, led by freshman Briana Bull, who had 21 points. Junior Amaka Ezeani and freshman Dominique White added 18 and 15 points, respectively, off the bench for Goucher. Junior India Perkins and freshman Bri Prince both recorded a team-high seven rebounds apiece.
The Mariners led for virtually the entire first half, building up a game-best 15-point advantage at 13:30 of the opening stanza after a layup by freshman Jenna Wetherington (Cocoa Beach, Fla./Cocoa Beach) made the score 17-2 in favor of the home squad. USMMA maintained a double-digit lead until the 2:45 mark, when Bull hit a layup for the Gophers that started a 9-4 run in the closing minutes of the half. The Mariners led by just five at halftime, 39-34.
In the second half, Merchant Marine worked its lead back up to 10 points, 46-36, after a jumper by freshman Myckenzie Toler (Prunedale, Calif.) at 18:40. However, the Gophers rattled off a 17-7 run over the next 10 minutes to tie the game up at 53-all at 8:08. After VanDerWal nailed one-of-two free throws at 8:01, the visitors took their first lead of the game shortly after on a layup by White. The lead changed back-and-forth over the next four minutes until USMMA took a two-point advantage, 65-63, at 4:36 on a three-pointer by VanDerWal.
The Mariners held on to the lead for the next three minutes, but shortly after the Gophers tied the score at 68-68 with 1:38 to play, they added five straight points over the next minute to take a 73-68 advantage with 25 seconds to play and Merchant Marine couldn't respond despite its best efforts to foul down the stretch to get the ball back.