NEWBURGH – Led by 19 points from Skyline Conference Championship Most Outstanding Player Morina Bojka, the Mount Saint Mary College Women’s Basketball team won the 13th Skyline Conference title in program history Saturday afternoon, pulling away for a 61-53 victory over the United States Merchant Marine Academy.
Saturday’s victory is the Mount’s 11th straight and pushes it to 23-3 heading into the 2022 NCAA Division III Tournament.
A tightly contested opening period featured four lead changes before the Knights used an Annie Keenan jumper and a bucket from Lauren Desrats to open a 12-9 advantage at the 4:25 mark of the first quarter.
Desrats pushed the Knights in front 14-10, their largest lead of the period, on a bucket with 1:46 left in the frame.
USMMA responded with the final four points of the quarter, including a pair of free-throws from Julia Dahlke, to knot the score at 14-14 after 10 minutes of action.
After gong 0-for-8 from three-point range in the first quarter, Shannon Phelan drilled the Knights’ first attempt in the second stanza to open a 17-14 advantage.
The Knights spread their lead to a half-high six points twice in the second frame, once on a Bojka triple with 5:55 left before halftime and again on a Phelan free-throw with 3:06 left in the quarter that put the Knights in front 28-22.
The Mariners sliced the deficit to 28-27 on a Kaira Winston conversion with 1:46 left before halftime.
Mount Saint Mary closed the second period with six of the final eight points to build its lead back to 34-29 after 20 minutes of play.
Mount Saint Mary shot 34.3-percent overall in the first half, but struggled from three-point range after going just 2-for-16 from behind the arc.
USMMA converted at 33.3-percent overall and knocked down only two triples in 10 attempts before halftime.
Bojka led all scorers at the break with 13 points.
Grace Jackson paced the Mariners with 10 points.
Neither team would get on the board until Keenan knocked down a pair of free-throws at the 7:54 mark of the third quarter to give the Knights a 36-29 advantage.
USMMA responded with the next six points to cut the Mount’s advantage down to a single point, at 36-35, on a Jackson bucket with 5:22 left in the quarter.
Bojka pushed the Mount back in front by three with a jumper before Asia Rivera buried a three-pointer to give the Knights a 41-35 advantage with 2:13 left in the period.
The two sides alternated jumpers in the final minute with Abby Stramski pulling the Mariners to within 43-39 with 10 minutes left to play.
Jackson opened the scoring in the fourth and brought USMMA to with a bucket, at 43-41, before the Knights put together a 15-2 run covering nearly six minutes to open their largest lead of the game at 58-43 with 2:45 left in the contest.
Rivera canned a three-pointer to give the Mount a nine-point advantage with 5:12 left before Desrats added a bucket and Bojka tallied four points to build the lead to 15 points.
USMMA climbed back to within seven points on a trio of Jackson free-throws in the final minute, but that would be as close as it would get before an Erin Smith free-throw gave the Mount the final eight-point edge.
The Knights were limited to 9-for-30 shooting overall and a 2-for-10 effort from three-point range in the second half.
USMMA also went 9-for-30 from the floor in the second half with a pair of three-pointers.
Bojka and Rivera led the Mount after halftime with six points apiece.
Jackson led everyone, erupting for 17 second half tallies for the Mariners.
For The Knights
Bojka earned Most Outstanding Players honors after finishing with a double-double, scoring a team-high 19 points and hauling in 11 rebounds. Bojka added two assists in the victory.
Smith reached double-figures with 11 points to go along with four rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot.
Desrats finished the win with eight points and a trio of steals for the Knights.
Rivera knocked in two big second half triples and collected five rebounds.
Kennan led all players with 12 caroms and chipped in six points and a pair of helpers.
For The Mariners
Jackson closed out a huge afternoon with a game-high 27 points to go along with 10 rebounds and an assist.
Madison Reddick finished with seven points and seven rebounds.
Madison Demos closed the day with six points, seven caroms and a team-high four assists.