NEWBURGH – Playing in her 100th career game, senior Janae Graham led the Knights with 11 points as the Mount Saint Mary College Women’s Basketball team won its 12th straight game with a hard fought 58-46 win over the United States Merchant Marine Academy. Prior to the contest, the Knights honored Graham as well as Dorothy Tighe, Bridget Kelly and Jessica Rini on Senior Day.
The Mariners moved in front by three points twice in the early going on Saturday, before the Mount grabbed its first lead of the game on a Lyndsay Pace jumper that gave the Knights an 8-7 lead with 1:39 left in the opening period. The bucket was part of a 9-2 stretch to close the quarter, with the Mount holding a 13-9 lead after 10 minutes.
Mount Saint Mary spread its lead to 16-9 early in the second frame on a pair of Katie Smith free-throws and matched its half-high lead when Elizabeth Limonta converted a lay-in with 7:29 left before halftime to give the Knights an 18-11 advantage.
Trailing by seven, USMMA sliced its disadvantage to just two points following a 7-2 spurt over nearly six-and-a half minutes. The Knights went without a field goal after the Limonta conversion and got just a pair of Kayla Cleare free-throws over the final 3:23 of the half.
Shelby Peters converted a bucket with 60 seconds left in the period to get the Mariners to within 20-18 heading into the break.
Both teams struggled from the floor in the first half, with the Knights shooting just 22.6-percent and the visitors converting at 24-percent. The Mount made one more field goal over the first 20 minutes, with each team making one three-pointer and five free-throws. Limonta led the Knights with six first half points, with Kaleigh D’Arcy leading all scorers with nine points at the break for USMMA.
USMMA took its first lead since the first quarter early in the third frame on a D’Arcy field goal posting one of six lead changes in the third period. After the Mariners moved in front 28-27 on a Gabrielle Salazar three-pointer, the Knights finished the quarter with nine of the final 11 points to move in front 36-30. Graham hit a three-pointer to put the Knights in front 34-28 late in the frame and scored over the final 1:47.
Mount Saint Mary extended its lead to nine points early in the fourth on another Graham triple and grabbed its first double-figure lead of the game when a pair of Pace free-throws moved the Mount in front 45-35 with just under seven minutes left to play. The Knights maintained a double-figure lead the rest of the way, moving in front by a game-high 16 points twice in the final four minutes.
The Knights improved to 40-percent shooting after halftime, hitting both of their three-point attempts, with Graham scoring 10 of her 11 points after the break. USMMA shot 33.3-percent after halftime and saw D’Arcy score nine more points after halftime.
Graham finished the day 3-for-7 from the floor and 2-for-3 from bonus distance, matching her season-high in scoring. Rini, Pace and Limonta all scored eight points, with Limonta leading the way with 12 rebounds, including seven on the offensive glass. Kelly finished up with seven points and three steals for the Mount in the win.
USMMA was led by a game-high 18 points from D’Arcy who closed out a double-double with 14 rebounds. Tichina Carmon rounded out the day with 10 points and a pair of assists for the Mariners.
Mount Saint Mary finished the game shooting 31.1-percent and held the visitors to a 28.6-percent effort. The Knights held the advantage in paint points 22-14, points off turnovers 21-16 and second chance points 16-7.