KINGS POINT, N.Y. — Goucher's 54-44 triumph over the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy today marked the first-time in program history that a team had won three-straight Landmark Conference games.
This was in large part due to the performance of senior center Amaka Ezeani (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch). In her 25 minutes of action, she recorded 22 points and 10 rebounds — good for her first double-double on the season — while making seven blocks, a new career-high.
Throughout the entirity of the game, Ezeani made baskets when called upon. She broke three of the game's eight ties and tallied nine of the team's 21 points in the fourth.
Though, the most important bucket of the game came with 4:37 remaining in the contest. At that point, no team had led more than six points but Ezeani changed that with another layup. From there, the Gophers (8-12, 3-8 Landmark) added to the lead and kept the game out of reach for the Mariners to mount any comeback.
A jumper by Rachel Wehlburg with 10 seconds left in the opening quarter gave Merchant Marine the 12-10 lead. Briana Bull (Baltimore, Md./Owings Mills) scored four of Goucher's 10 points in the first.
Ezeani and Bull took control in the second quarter as they scored all 13 of the team's points. The Gophers held a 23-21 advantage at the half.
Out of the break, the Mariners (7-11, 1-9 Landmark) got on the board quickly, tying the game at 25 apiece with 6:02 left. A three-point play by Ezeani broke the tie. With just under two minutes remaining, Sarah Milafksy hit a 3-pointer to tie the game again, this time at 29 apiece. The home team took a two-point lead until Bull hit a layup with 35 seconds left for the quarter's third tie.
Merchant Marine was staring at a one-point deficit, twice, with just under eight minutes left in the game and Hannah Kuehl (Plymouth, N.H./Plymouth Regional) came through for Goucher. She made two free throws and a jumper, on two separate occassions, which extended the lead to three and kept pressure on the home team.
Wehlburg led the Mariners with 12 points while Tichina Carmon contributed 11.
Bull tallied 17 points for the Gophers.
"This was a grind it out type of game and we did not play well in the first half, especially on defense," head coach Patrich Daniel's commented after the game. "We responded in the second half and did what we needed to do to win this game."
"Playing three games in six days was a tough week but I'm really proud of this team's effort and playing so hard in every game."
Goucher returns to the Decker Sports & Recreation Center on Saturday for a 4 p.m. tip-off against Elizabethtown.