FAIRFAX, Va. - Redshirt-senior Taleia Moton tied the game at
51-all with 46 seconds to play in the game, but the George Mason women's
basketball team dropped a hard-fought 55-51 decision to American in the
season-opener for both teams Friday night at the Patriot Center. Amber Easter
tied her career-high of 20 points and posted her fifth career double-double (20
pts, 12 rbs) to lead the Patriots offensively as Moton closely followed with 19
Easter's 20 points led all scorers, while American had four
players reach double digits. Ti'Asia McGeorge paced the Eagles with 13 points,
followed by Lisa Strack with 12. Stephanie Anya and Sarah Kiely each added 10.
Mason won the edge on glass, 50-44, led by Easter's 12. Janaa Pickard, Evelyn
Lewis and Rahnkeea Saunders all pulled down nine boards apiece. Strack posted
the game's second double-double with 10 rebounds and 12 points for American. The Eagles went 18-for-29 at the charity stripe in the contest, while Mason was limited to a 2-of-7 effort.
Both teams struggled from the floor in the first half as American
jumped out with a 6-0 lead using a pair of triples from Alexis Dobbs and McGeorge,
but an 11-5 Mason run over the next six and a half minutes knotted the game at
11-11 with 12:50 to play. With accurate shooting, the Eagles built their lead
back to six at 17-11 by the 9:13 mark.
An Easter lay-up at the 6:10 mark cut the lead to 17-15, but a three-pointer
from American's Strack at 5:53 gave the Eagles a five-point lead that would
last until an Anya jumper with just over a minute remaining. Easter hit her
third field goal of the period with 10 seconds to play to send the teams into
the locker room with a 24-20 tally.
Trailing by one with 12:46 remaining in the game, sophomore Christine Weithman
gave the Patriots their first lead of the contest hitting a trey from the right
wing for 31-29 advantage. The lead was short-lived as the Eagles battled back
and took an eight-point advantage at 7:34 when Strack hit a jumper to give
American a 43-35 edge.
With 5:21 to play, American held its largest lead of 11 points at
48-37, but a jumper by Moton at 3:52 sparked a 12-3 run highlighted by treys from
Moton and Easter to bring the Patriots to within one possession, 51-49, with
1:07 to play. Moton hit a jumper at the 47 second mark to tie the score for the
fifth time, forcing American to burn its fourth timeout. With time fading,
American's Dobbs had the opportunity to give the Eagles a three-point lead on
an old-fashioned three-point play, but missed the lay-up setting the score at
53-51 with 19 seconds on the clock.
After a Mason timeout, Easter inbounded the ball to Saunders who
found Moton just in front of the Patriot bench. Moton's three-point attempt was
short and Easter grabbed the rebound, but the Patriots could not tie the game
as Strack hit two free throws to seal the four-point victory, 55-51.
The Patriots return to the court and close this two-game homestand welcoming
Oakland on Sunday, November 13 for a 2 p.m. matchup. It marks the first meeting
between the two programs.