Recap written by Eric Getzoff.
KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Dec. 16, 2018) – Mark another "W" on the schedule for the USMMA women's basketball team. Playing their last game before a three-week layoff for winter break, the Mariners defeated visiting College of New Rochelle, 71-33, in a non-conference game Sunday afternoon at Liebertz Gymnasium to remain a perfect 9-0 on the season. The Blue Angels fall to 1-10 with the loss.
The Mariners defense was suffocating all afternoon. They held the Blue Angels to 23.2% shooting (13-for-56) and 18.8% from beyond the arc (3-for-16), and the Mariners also won the rebound margin, 49-35. The Merchant Marine defense allowed fewer than ten points in three of the four quarters, with the lone ten-plus point quarter for the Blue Angels coming with 13 points in the second.
USMMA was led by a near-triple double from freshman Julia Dahlke (San Diego, Calif.) with 12 points, seven assists and nine rebounds, and a game-high 15 points from classmate Lauren Hunter (Tinley Park, Ill.). Junior Shelby Peters (El Dorado, Hills, Calif.) added 14 points with six rebounds and sophomore Kiana Vega (El Paso, Texas) dropped a season-high 12 points in 19 minutes off the bench.
Hunter opened the scoring with back-to-back layups for a 4-0 lead, and the Mariners led 6-0 after Dahlke's layup at 8:24. Merchant Marine led 14-8 after the first quarter and displayed their defensive dominance early, holding the Blue Angels to two points until senior Aaliyah Fields' layup at 3:53.
The Mariners, like they have done all season, took control of the game in the second quarter. Leading 16-10 at 9:08, they went on a 7-0 run to take a 23-10 lead at 4:54. Vega started the run with a three-pointer, followed by a basket from Dahlke and a layup by Vega. Vega scored nine of her 12 points in the quarter, with Dahlke scoring eight of her 12 points and adding in three steals.
The Mariners and Blue Angels each scored 11 points to end the second quarter with the score 34-21, in favor of the hosts at halftime.
Merchant Marine exploded in the early part of the third quarter. After CNR junior Melissa Perez hit a jumper to cut the score to 34-23, the Mariners rattled off 11-straight points - the first six coming from Peters, then two free-throws from Hunter and a 3-pointer by D'Arcy - to take a commanding 45-23 lead.
After Perez hit a 3-pointer to end the skid, Hunter hit a jump shot on the next position in what would start a 9-0 run for the Mariners. Merchant Marine outscored New Rochelle 20-7 in the third quarter and led 54-28 after 30 minutes.
The fourth quarter was a similar story for Merchant Marine. After New Rochelle freshman Julee Martinez hit a jumper at 9:49, the Mariners answered with another 9-0 run to take a 63-30 lead, and they held the Blue Angels to one point over the final 6:16 for their ninth-straight win to start the season.
Perez scored eight points with two 3-pointers and freshman Ronnella Kennedy led New Rochelle in scoring with nine points. The Blue Angels finished 4-for-12 from the free-throw line.
Merchant Marine will be off until Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, when the Mariners host Old Westbury in a Skyline Conference game. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Liebertz Gymnasium. Live stats and a live video feed of the game will be available with links on the USMMA Women's Basketball Schedule Page.
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