Skyline Finals Preview: #2 Mariners Square Off Against Top-Seed Mount St. Mary Saturday At 1 p.m. For Skyline Championship

Skyline Finals Preview: #2 Mariners Square Off Against Top-Seed Mount St. Mary Saturday At 1 p.m. For Skyline Championship

KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Feb. 22, 2019) – The #2-seed USMMA women's basketball team will hit the road tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 23, in search of the 2019 Skyline Conference Championship, as the Mariners will take on the top-seed Mount St. Mary Knights with a trip to the 2019 NCAA National Championships on the line. Tipoff of the Skyline title game is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Knights' Kaplan Center Gymnasium.

Planning To Attend?
Admission will be charged for Saturday's Skyline Championship Game. Admission for adults will be $5. Students with a valid Skyline Conference institution ID and children under the age of 12 will NOT be charged admission. 

Live Game Coverage
If you can't make it to Saturday's contest between the Mariners and Knights, the Mount St. Mary Sports Information office has you covered with live stats and a live video feed. To access the live stats link, click here. The live video link can be found at this link

A Look At The Teams
#2 Merchant Marine Mariners – Record: 21-3 (16-2 Skyline) – ScheduleRoster
#1 Mount St. Mary Knights – Record: 22-4 (18-0 Skyline) – ScheduleRoster

Mariners Reach First Ever Conference Championship Game
Saturday's game will be the Mariners' first Conference Championship Game in the program's 19 seasons. They have reached the semifinals on four previous occasions before this year – in 2005, 2007 and 2018 in the Skyline and in 2008 in the Landmark Conference – but have never made it to a title game. 

2018-19 Skyline Championship Central
To view the complete bracket of the 2019 Skyline Championships, click here. The Skyline's "Championship Central" page can be accessed by following this link. 

Head-To-Head Matchups This Year
The Mariners and Knights played each other twice this year, with MSMC claiming victory in both contests. The Mount defeated USMMA in Kings Point, 57-47, on Jan. 12 and narrowly edged the Mariners, 57-56, this past Saturday, Feb. 16 

Scouting Mount St. Mary
Under sixth-year Head Coach Michael Cappolino, the Knights are riding a 14-game winning streak into the Skyline Finals. Mount St. Mary ran the table in Skyline regular season action, winning all 18 league games to earn the top seed in the tournament. The Knights are scoring 65.8 points per game which is third in the Skyline, while allowing opponents just 49.3 points per game – second in the conference. 

Leading the way for the Knights is senior 1,000-point scorer Kayla Cleare, who has produced 12.3 points per game this season and is tied for the team-lead with 8.6 rebounds per game. Cleare also sits just one rebound away from 1,000 for her career. Senior Elizabeth Limonta is tied with Cleare for the team lead with 8.6 boards per game and freshman Annie Keenan is second on the squad with 10.2 points per game. 

Merchant Marine Leaders
Under 11th-year Head Coach Matt Dempsey, USMMA scores 62.6 points per game and holds opponents to just 45.4 points per game, which is the second-best scoring defense in all of Division III women's basketball. 

Freshman Lauren Hunter (Tinley Park, Ill.) has been remarkable for Merchant Marine during her rookie campaign. She leads the Mariners with 17.4 points per game, a .521 shooting percentage and 12.2 rebounds per game. Hunter has recorded an astounding 18 double-doubles on the year. 

Junior Kaleigh D'Arcy (White Plains, N.Y.) is second on the squad with 13.7 points per game, while classmate Taylor Hightower (White Plains, Md.) has had an impressive year, leading the Mariners with 3.8 assists per game, 2.2 blocks per game and 1.9 steals per game. 

Up Next
The winner of Saturday's Championship Game will earn the Skyline Conference's automatic qualifying bid to the 2019 NCAA National Championships, which will begin next week. The full field of 64 teams that qualify for the tournament will be revealed on Monday, Feb. 25. More information on the national tournament will be available at this link

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