Bears Beat Rival Merchant Marine 76-69

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NEW LONDON, Conn. --  Senior Leigh Steinbeck had a career-high 18 points while junior Meghan Fornaro also had 18 points to go with game-highs of five assists and four steals leading Coast Guard to a 76-69 win over archrival Merchant Marine in a non-conference game.

Coast Guard won its third straight to improve to 10-7 overall while the Mariners lost for the 11th straight time to drop to 2-15 on the season.

With the win, the Bears now hold a commanding 8-2 lead over Merchant Marine in the annual battle for the Superintendent's Trophy, with just six sports left this season meaning one more win and the Bears will secure the trophy this season.

Junior Torie Sutherland added 11 points and a game-high seven rebounds and four assists in the win.

Senior Demi VanDerWal had a game-high 28 points to lead Merchant Marine as she connected on five of ten from 3-point range. Freshman Myckenzie Toler had 12 points off the bench for the Mariners while freshman Tichia Carmon added ten points and five rebounds.

Coast Guard started off red hot jumping out to a 10-0 lead in the first two minutes connecting on its first four field goals including 3-pointers by Steinbeck and Fornaro.

The Bears made 9 of their first 11 field goals and led 21-8 with 12:16 left in the first half. Coast Guard then hit a cold streak missing nine straight from the floor as the Mariners cut the deficit to 23-16 following a bucket by freshman Jenna Wetherington with 8:17 left in the opening half.

Coast Guard then went on an 11-2 run with freshman Gill Gerton scoring six points in the run as the Bears took a 34-18 lead with 4:30 left.  Coast Guard held that 16-point lead, 41-25 at the break.

The Bears led by as many as 22, 47-25 with 17:44 to go in the game before the Mariners behind the shooting of VanDerWal went on a 15-2 run to make the score 49-40 with 10:56 left. VanDerWal had 10 of the 15 points including a pair of treys.

The Mariners would not get closer than seven the rest of the way and Steinbeck went 6 for 6 from the foul line in the final 1:18 to ice the game for the Bears.

Coast Guard shot 44.1 percent from the field (26-59) and made 6 of 26 from behind the arc while the Mariners were 23 of 56 from the floor (31.1 percent) while staying in the game shooting 58.8 percent (10 of 17) from 3-point range.

The Bears are back in action on Saturday at Wheaton at 3 p.m.