Mariners Top Panthers 69-56; Improve to 2-0

Junior Forward Kristina Walz
Junior Forward Kristina Walz

Kings Point, NY -- The United States Merchant Marine Academy Mariners (2-0) upended the Purchase College Panthers (1-3) by a score of 69-56 Wednesday night in Kings Point, NY.

Merchant Marine junior forward Kristina Walz (Monona, IA) led all scorers in the contest with 17 points; her nine rebounds tied a game high.  Senior captain Shendi Josephs (Culpeper, VA) had 16 points and also nabbed nine rebounds; both finished one rebound away from recording the first USMMA double-double of the season. 

In total, four Mariners reached double figures with senior captain Tamara Kaileh (Kings Park, NY) contributing 12 points, a game high five assists, and a team high four steals, and freshman guard Marlee Chovich coming off the bench to net 11 points.

The Mariners never trailed in the contest, jumping out to an 8-2 lead in the first 2:14 of play.  The Panthers quickly adjusted, slowing down the Mariner offense with a full court press. 

Purchase cut the Mariner advantage to 18-17 on a layup by Panther's senior forward Jalisa Fields (Bronx, NY) with 8:49 remaining in the half.   USMMA would then go on an 8-0 run over the next two minutes which was capped by a Kaileh fast-break layup.  Extending the Merchant Marine lead to 26-17, the Mariners would not see their advantage drop lower than five for the remainder of the game.

USMMA took a 34-25 lead into the break, getting a last second bucket by Walz just before time expired. 

The second half was flooded with fouls and turnovers as each team committed their share of infractions and mental mistakes.  The Panthers finished the game with 25 turnovers and 25 personal fouls; having two of their players foul out of the game.  Merchant Marine committed 27 turnovers along with 23 personal fouls. 

The Mariners were able to capitalize on these errors scoring 16 points off of turnovers and 10 points on the fast break.  In the second half, Merchant Marine saw their lead inflate to as large as 21 when Josephs converted a fast break layup opportunity at the 3:04 mark.

Despite those being the last points Merchant Marine would score, they would hang on for the 69-56 victory, marking the first time they've started a season 2-0 since 2009-10.

For the Panthers, junior captain Jess Lindsay (Rochester, NY) led the team in scoring with 16 points and also had nine rebounds; one shy of a double-double.

The Mariners will open Landmark Conference play at home this Saturday Dec. 1 at 2:00 PM against the Gophers of Goucher College (1-4).