Jersey City, NJ – Matt Dempsey (Castleton State '84), Head Coach of the United States Merchant Marine Academy women's basketball team tallied his 300th career victory Wednesday night as the Mariners (6-4) defeated the Gothic Knights of New Jersey City University (3-9) by a score of 64-45.
Dempsey, who is currently in his fifth year at USMMA, has compiled a career record of 300-255 which also includes three seasons as head women's basketball coach at Green Mountain College, and 13 seasons as head men's basketball coach at Green Mountain.
46 of Dempsey's 300 wins have come at Merchant Marine, making him the second winningest coach in program history.
The Mariners were led in scoring by senior captain Tamara Kaileh (Kings Park, NY) who shot 7-10 from the field and 10-16 from the free throw line totaling 24 points; the first 20 point game for a Mariner this season. She also tacked on seven boards and three steals to help lead Merchant Marine to victory.
Sophomore guard Demi VanDerWal (Springfield, IL) was the only other Mariner to reach double-figures with 11 points, knocking down two of her six three-point attempts.
Sophomore forward Rebecca Resor (Bay St. Lous, MS) grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds, scoring nine points. Also scoring nine was senior captain Roshenda Josephs (Culpeper, VA), finishing just shy of her sixth double-digit point effort of the season; her eight steals was a season-high, bolstering her conference-leading steal total.
The game was tightly contested early on, with neither team taking a large advantage out of the gate. Merchant Marine took their first lead, 11-10, on a three-pointer by junior forward Alexandra Winfree (Millstone, NJ) at the 13:20 mark.
The Gothic Knights quickly nabbed the advantage right back on a jumper by Gabrielle Rivera, but Merchant Marine would score their next five points from the foul line, taking a 20-16 lead with 8:25 remaining in the first half.
The Mariners ended the half on an 11-1 run, taking a 27-17 advantage into the break.
The Gothic Knights struck early in the second, shrinking the Mariner lead to eight on a layup by Kiana Briggs. Merchant Marine would score the next 12, widening the gap to 41-21 on a VanDerWal three-pointer at the 16:31 mark.
From that point on, the Mariners were able to fend off the hard charging press of NJCU; hitting the majority of their free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
Efficiency from the charity stripe ended up being the difference in the game as the Mariners knocked down 22 of 32 for 69% while the Gothic Knights made only six of 23 free throws for 26%.
The Mariners improve to 6-0 this season when either tied or holding a lead with 10 minutes remaining in the second half and 3-0 when shooting better than 40% from the field as a team.
Merchant Marine will have some time off before returning to action Saturday, Jan. 5 when they head to Washington, D.C. for a Landmark Conference match-up with Catholic University of America (8-0). Tip-off is set for 6:00 PM.