Rival Merchant Marine stifles Coast Guard

NEW LONDON, Conn.-Coast Guard led by five early in the second half but saw that lead slip away as they could not extend their win streak to three games, falling 62-53 to rival Merchant Marine. Coast Guard (9-13) fell behind by a margin of 12-7 just over six minutes into the game but rallied to take a 26-24 lead into the locker room against the Mariners (11-12).

The key turning point came during a late 10-0 run over 3:12 that saw Merchant Marine stymie Coast Guard defensively. During the crucial stretch the Bears missed seven shots (including three layups) and two free throws while committing five fouls leading to eight made free throws by the Mariners. Four different Mariners contributed points during the run, sophomore Rebecca Resor (2), senior Tamara Kaileh (3), sophomore Sara Ellenberger (3), and senior Roshenda Josephs.

Freshman Meghan Fornaro snapped out of her cold shooting spell to lead the Bears with 14 points (6-for-13 shooting) while contributing with a solid all-around game. In addition to her scoring prowess, Fornaro added a career-high five steals, four rebounds, and three assists before fouling out on a play that saw Josephs fall on top of her with just under three minutes to play.

After Coast Guard cut the lead to 56-50 with 1:06 to play, sophomore Dani Knox was shorted a three-pointer after a whistle called a ball out-of-bounds after hitting the top of the backboard. Knox, after recording a double-double on Sunday struggled from the field (three points, 1-for-8 shooting) but was able to pull down five rebounds.

Junior Kaitlin Ward recorded her second double-double of the season with a season-high tying 14 points (5-for-12) and pulling down 10 rebounds. The rebounds by Ward were matched by senior Karli Collins to be the co-leaders for the game. Freshman Victoria Sutherland, in just 16 minutes of play, managed to score 10 points (4-for-6) and pull down five rebounds, as she joined Fornaro and Ward in double-figures.

Merchant Marine did everything they could to keep Coast Guard in the game as they missed 16 free throws and turned the ball over a staggering 18 times. Coast Guard suffered through struggles of their own as they shot just 50 percent (7-for-14) from the line while committing 22 turnovers of their own. Coast Guard, a team used to comfortable rebounding margins, struggled on the glass as they managed just a 44-42 edge.

Collins scored six for the cause as freshman Andrea Barrameda and sophomore Leigha Steinbeck added four and two off the bench, respectively.

The Bears return to action on Wednesday, February 13th with a 7:00 tip at Wellesley, before returning to action on Saturday (Senior Day) when they host WPI, with tip-off set for 2:00.

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