KINGS POINT, N.Y. – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy women threw just about everything they had at Berkeley College in their season-opening basketball game, but dropped a 49-44 decision at Liebertz Gymnasium on Wednesday night.
Junior guard Tamara Kaileh (Kings Park, N.Y.) led the Mariners (0-1) with 12 points while freshman guard Miranda Walz (Monona, Iowa) chipped in eight points and six rebounds. Freshman guard Demi Vanderwal (Springfield, Ill.) had seven points and freshman forward Rebecca Resor (Bay St. Louis, Miss.) added six in the non-conference matchup.
Taisha Sherman sparked the Knights (1-0) with 24 points on 8-for-18 shooting from the field while sinking 8 of 12 shots from the foul line. Janay Thomas and Oliva Byfield contributed eight points apiece. Rahinet Koti, who hobbled around with an ailing left leg, still wound up a force inside. She scored only three points, but grabbed 10 rebounds, some of them key ones, blocked three shots.
The game was a back-and-for affair in the opening half. The Knights took the lead for good at 13-12 on Kysharecel Young's basket with 4:59 left in the first half, although the Merchant Marines kept within striking distance.
The Mariners trailed for the entire second half, but came within 33-32 on Kaileh's basket with 10:46 remaining in the game. But the Knights went on a 12-5 run to extend their lead to 45-37 with 4:52 left.
But the Merchant Marines rallied back on a 7-2 spurt of their own, pulling within 47-44 with 11 seconds remaining as Kaileh scored four points (a basket and two foul shots), Alicen Heinrich sank two free throws, Resor hit a free throw. Kaileh, however, was forced to foul Sherman, who sank both of her attempts to ice the game for the visitors.
Merchant Marine will be off for 13 days before returning to the court for its first road game of the season – at SUNY Purchase on Tuesday, Nov. 29.
Photo: The Mariners lost a tough one in their home and season opener to Berkeley College. Photo by Shawn Antonelli