Kings Point, NY – Senior captain Tamara Kaileh (Kings Park, NY) led the United States Merchant Marine Academy Mariners (6-6, 1-4 LC) in scoring with 23 points as they fell to the Crusaders of Susquehanna University (6-9, 1-3 LC) by a score of 68-64 Saturday afternoon in Kings Point, NY.
The game was evenly matched with neither team able to take a double-digit lead throughout the entirety of a contest which saw 10 ties and nine lead changes. Kaileh gave the Mariners their largest advantage of the game (19-14) after sinking a pair of free throws near the midway point of the first half.
Susquehanna would score the next eight only to see their lead vanish once again by two more Kaileh free throws near the five minute mark; making the score 23-22 Merchant Marine.
The half ended with Susquehanna senior forward Gina Palazzi (Newfoundland, PA) nailing a free throw to knot the game at seven heading into the break.
Merchant Marine junior forward Kristina Walz (Monona, IA) scored the first two point of the half giving the Mariners what would end up being their final lead of the contest.
A strong Crusaders start to the second half helped them open an eight point lead, their largest of the contest with 9:32 remaining.
USMMA would storm back, tying the game at 58 on pair of free throws by senior captain Roshenda Josephs (Culpeper, VA), but the Crusaders would once again open a five point advantage in the game's closing minutes.
Two more Kaileh foul shots brought the Mariners to within two with under a minute remaining. However, a pair of missed opportunities by Merchant Marine to tie the game in the final seconds fell short just before Susquehanna senior guard Ainsley Rossitto would nail a pair of free throws with 1.2 seconds remaining to seal the victory.
Kaileh finished with a double-double, scoring a game-high 23 points, grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds, and shooting 12-13 from the free throw line.
Josephs and Walz also finished with double-figures, scoring 12 and 10 respectively. Josephs also added five steals.
Sophomore guard Eleni Dimou (Center Valley, PA) led the Crusaders in scoring, contributing 18 points off the bench. Rossitto, senior forward Shannon Grunwald (Neshanic Station, NJ) and junior guard Mariah Monahan (Towanda, PA) also s reached double figures scoring 13, 12, and 10 respectively.
Merchant Marine will be back in action Monday night when the take on the Cardinals of York College (0-13) at 7:00 PM in Kings Point, NY.