Merchant Marine Provides Early Drama; Falls to Army
West Point, NY -- The United States Merchant Marine Academy Mariners (4-4) were upended by the Army Black Knights (9-3) by a score of 77 - 40 Thursday night at Christl Arena in West Point, NY.
Sophomore forward Demi VanDerWal (Springfield, IL) and senior captain Tamara Kaileh (Kings Park, NY) became only the third and fourth Mariners in academy history to reach double-figures against Division-I Army, scoring 14 and 11 points respectively. They join Stephanie Waller '09 and Kristen Hetsko '09 who both accomplished the feat in 2008 with 13 and 11 respectively. VanDerWal's 14 points is the most any female Mariner has scored against a Division-I opponent in academy history.
Army jumped out to an early lead scoring the first eight points of the game; hitting two three-pointers in the opening two minutes. Merchant Marine responded with a three-pointer from VanDerWal to make the score 8-3 Army with just over four minutes gone by in the half.
A layup by senior captain Tamara Kaileh (Kings Park, NY) followed by another three-pointer by VanDerWal would knot the score at eight around the 14:30 mark.
The Black Knights would score the next four to open up a 12-8 advantage, but senior captain Roshenda Josephs (Culpeper, VA) quickly responded with a long range fade-away jumper while the shot clock was running down to cut the lead to two midway through the half.
USMMA took their first lead of the contest (15-14) on VanDerWal's third three-pointer of the half, just under the seven-minute mark.
Merchant Marine would open a six point lead on another VanDerWal three, but that was quickly followed by an Army three-pointer by junior forward Jen Hazlett to make the score 23-20 Mariners. The Black Knights ended the half on a 10-0 run to take a 27-23 lead into the locker room.
The Mariners started the second half with a quick layup from Kaileh, but Army would score the next 22 points opening up a 49-27 advantage. The Black Knights turned up the heat in the back-court, implementing a full-court press which seemed to be a bit too much for Merchant Marine to handle.
Junior forward Alexandra Winfree finally stopped the run with a layup following an offensive rebound near the 13:30 mark of the second half, but the lead was already too large for the Mariners to recover.
The Black Knights were able to use a solid mix of defense and three-point shooting to salt away the victory. Overall, Army hit 12 three-pointers, had a 25-3 advantage in points off turnovers, and a 32-14 lead in points in the paint.
The loss drops USMMA to 0-3 all-time against their Division-I service academy foes from West Point.
Merchant Marine will return to action Sunday, Dec . 16 when they tipoff against Vaughn College in Kings Point. Game time is set for 1:00 PM.