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USMMA Freshman Ties NCAA Free Throw Record

Just recently, United States Merchant Marine Academy freshman guard Demi Van Der Wal sank 21 of 22 free throws in a game which the Mariners needed every point to edge the Gophers of Goucher College 68-67 in double overtime. Hitting her first 20 attempts, she tied an NCAA Division III record for most consecutive free throws made in a single game.

Van Der Wal’s 21 of 22 bested the previous US Merchant Marine Academy record held by Larry Jordan ’86 whose mark of 17 for 19 from the charity strike in a 1985 ECAC semifinal match stood for the past 27 years.  She nailed two from the line near the end of regulation to send the game into overtime and hit seven of eight down the stretch in the two overtime periods, capping her career high of 29 points on the night.

Freshman forward Rebecca Resor helped the Mariners continually maintain possession with a team high eight rebounds and junior guard Tamara Kaileh pressured the Gophers all night with a game high four steals. 

After scoring the game’s first point, the Mariners fought to stay in the contest as they fell behind 8-1 in the opening minutes, eventually closing the gap to 27-25 at halftime. A botched layup by Gopher’s guard Precious Kollock late in the second half left the door open for the Mariners to tie the game and force overtime.

Fittingly, the final, decisive point was scored by Van Der Wal from the free throw line. Although the Gophers had a chance to win with a last second jump shot, the ball soared over the basket as time expired, giving the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy women’s basketball team the victory.

The Mariners earned their second Landmark Conference win of the season improving to 2-5 in conference and 5-10 overall. They were set to travel to York College to face off against the Cardinals on Monday, Jan. 23 before beginning a stretch of four consecutive Landmark Conference match-ups.