FAIRFAX, Va. - Led by Amber Easter and Taleia Moton offensively, the George Mason women's basketball team cruised to a 59-48 victory over visiting Oakland Sunday afternoon at the Patriot Center. Easter and Moton combined for 22 points to lead the Patriots to their first victory of the 2011-12 season, improving to 1-1 on the season. Oakland, in its season opener, dropped to 0-1.
Paced by Moton and Rahneeka Saunders each with two steals, the Patriots forced 16 Oakland turnovers and won the edge on glass, 50-38, including a 20-to-9 advantage in offensive rebounds. Moton posted a game-high seven assists as Mason accumulated 17 in the contest. Offensively, Easter and Moton each chipped in 11 points, while Easter led the Patriots for the second consecutive outing in rebounds, pulling down eight. Janaa Pickard, Talisha Watts and Saunders each secured seven.
For Oakland, Bethany Watterworth led the offense with a game-high 17 points, followed by Zakiya Minifee with 10. Minifee posted a double-double adding 10 rebounds.
Mason opened strong defensively and held the early 6-5 lead at the 14:53 mark off an Easter jumper, but the Golden Grizzlies used a 7-0 run over the next 1:37 to take an 11-6 lead with 13:16 on the clock. Following the second media timeout, the Patriots added to the pressure, knotting the score at 11-all on a Watts lay-up and an Easter triple with 10:25 to play in the first. Back-to-back buckets from Rachel McNair gave the Patriots their first lead since the 14:53 mark, holding a 15-14 advantage with 8:24 to play.
McNair's second bucket sparked a 12-2 Patriot run over the next 4:36 as the Patriots took a 25-16 lead by the final media timeout at 3:15. Oakland closed the half with a 7-2 spurt for a 27-23 Mason lead at the break. The Patriots shot 32.4% in the period and out-rebounded the Golden Grizzlies 27-20.
In the second half, Mason built its lead out to double-digits on a Saunders trey with just under five minutes expired in the period. OU cut the lead to single digits at 11:48 on a Minifee jumper before Christine Weithman hit a pair of triples within a two minute span to hand the Patriots a 47-33 advantage with 9:38 to play in the contest.
Mason continued to maintain a double-digit lead and took its largest lead of 16 points at 6:24 off an Evelyn Lewis jumper, 51-37. The Golden Grizzlies would not go lightly, cutting their deficit to single digits on a three-pointer from Watterworth at the 2:49 mark for a 55-46 score. Oakland came as close as eight, 56-48, but Mason went 3-for-4 at the charity stripe over the final minute to seal the 59-48 victory.
The Patriots closed out this two-game homestand and hit the road for the first time this season traveling to Longwood for a Thursday, November 17 meeting at 7 p.m.