Mariners Steal a Victory in Wild Opener

Mariners Steal a Victory in Wild Opener

Kings Point, NY -- The United States Merchant Marine Academy Mariners (1-0) upended the Knights of Berkeley College (0-1) by a score of 57-54 Saturday afternoon in Kings Point, NY.

Berkeley controlled play early, never relinquishing their lead in the first half.  Mariners' junior forward Kristina Walz (Monona, IA), who played through fould trouble for much of the contest, scored 10 of her team high 11 points in the first frame, allowing Merchant Marine to remain within striking distance.

Although trailing, USMMA didn't allow the Knights to take a lead larger than five in the half.  A 4-0 Mariner run in the final minute of the first, which included a pair of free throws by senior captain Roshenda Josephs (Culpeper, VA) and a layup by senior captain Tamata Kaileh (Kings Park, NY), cut the Mariner deficit to 28-26 at the break.

Berkeley came out firing in the second, scoring seven of the half's first nine points to open up a seven point in lead in the first five minutes of play.  Merchant Marine responded quickly, led by freshman guard Marlee Chorvich (Lake Oswego, OR), who knocked down a big three pointer at the 13:13 mark to cut the Mariner deficit to one.  Three minutes later, she came up with a steal in the backcourt and finished with a layup, putting USMMA on top 41-40 with 10:30 left to play.

The Mariner advantage was short lived as a free throw by Berkeley sophomore guard Janay Thomas (Queens, NY) tied the game and sparked a Knight's run which saw them take a 10 point lead with 4:47 remaining.    

Capitalizing on Berkeley turnovers, the Mariners slowly began to chip away at the deficit.  Josephs scored seven of her ten points in the final five minutes to cut the Knight's advantage to one with 1:48 remaining in regulation. 

After Kaileh fouled out of the game with her fifth personal at the 1:28 mark, sophomore guard Demi VanDerWal (Springfield, IL) entered the contest, picking up from where she left off last season; sinking a three pointer with 55 seconds remaining to give Merchant Marine a one point advantage.

When the Knights had the opportunity to take the lead on the ensuing possession, VanDerWal took a charge on a Berkeley layup that didn't count due to the infraction; giving possession back to USMMA. 

At the other end, VanDerWal hit a pair of free throws with five seconds remaining to put the Mariners up by three.

On their final chance down the floor, Berkeley forward Milan Germany (Bronx, NY) heaved a potential game-tying three pointer at the buzzer from the top of the arc that looked as though it had a chance of dropping; only to spin around the hoop and rim out, giving Merchant Marine the 57-54 victory.

Despite only holding the lead for 1:12 seconds, the Mariners were able to outscore the Knights 14-1 in the final 4:47 of play to come out on top.

For the Knights, Germany had a stellar double-double performance, scoring 22 points and nabbing 14 rebounds; both game highs.

For the Mariners, Walz and Josephs were the only players in double figures with 11 and 10 respectively.  Sophomore forward Rebecca Resor (Bay St. Louis, MS) led the team in rebounds with 12, Josephs led the team in steals with four, and Chovich led the way for the Mariners in assists with four.

Merchant Marine will have 10 days off before tipping off at home against Purchase College Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 7:00 PM.