TOWSON, Md. — Amaka Ezeani (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch), one of five seniors on Goucher's 2015-16 roster playing the final games of their collegiate careers, turned in a 22-point, 11-rebound performance in leading the Gophers to a 75-54 triumph over the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in a Landmark Conference contest played this afternoon.
Ezeani was 9-for-16 from the field, which helped Goucher outscore its opponent in the paint, 44-18. The 6-5 center's performance also allowed her to finish her four seasons with the Gophers with a .582 shooting percentage, making her the all-time career leader in that category.
All five seniors got into the scoring act in the first quarter for Goucher. Ezeani got things started with a conventional three-point play and, midway through the period, a lay-up by India Perkins (Brentwood, Md./Bladensburg) put the home team ahead to stay. The Gophers (9-16, 4-12 Landmark) were ahead by only two points when Olivia Nono (Silver Spring, Md./Montgomery Blair) and Monique Welch (Reisterstown, Md./Franklin) both made their only field goals of the opening stanza and the two points Hannah Kuehl (Plymouth, N.H./Plymouth Regional) contributed were from free throws.
The Mariners (9-15, 2-13 Landmark) committed 10 turnovers and were just 3-for-11 from the field in the first quarter, yet they trailed only 15-9 after 10 minutes. Halfway through the second period, just eight points separated the two teams, but a 16-2 run by the Gophers capped by a layup by Jaida Scarborough (Baltimore, Md./Digital Harbor) with under five seconds remaining allowed head coach Patrick Daniel's team to depart the court at the break with a commanding 39-17 advantage.
Even though Merchant Marine was a perfect 14-of-14 at the free-throw line in the third quarter, the Gophers still expanded their lead by three points and started the final period ahead 60-35.
Goucher's five seniors combined to score 49 of the teams's 75 points and grab 26 of the team's 42 rebounds. They accounted for eight assists and only three turnovers; they were responsble for all five of the team's blocked shots.
Goucher had a second double-digit scorer in Briana Bull (Baltimore, Md./Owings Mills), who delivered 14 points off the bench.
Only Tichina Carmon reached double figures in points for Merchant Marine as she finished with 10.
Goucher concluded Daniel's first year as head coach with more wins than in any season since the 2003-04 squad went 15-10, and thanks to today's victory, the Gophers finished in a tie with Drew for sixth place in the Landmark Conference, their best finish since the conference was formed.
The 21-point final spread represents Goucher's largest margin of victory ever in a Landmark Conference game, surpassing the 72-56 triumph over Merchant Marine back in 2007-08.
"Today was a good day for the entire team, especially for our five seniors," Daniel said in a post-game statement. "We wanted to end on a good note. We thought it was important to end on a good note and I think we did that.
"I'm very thankful to the seniors for what they did this season to help our program develop and make a move in the right direction."