|Strong Second Half Leads William and Mary Past Women's Basketball, 76-66|
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - William and Mary used a late run in the second half to defeat the visiting George Mason women's basketball team, 76-66, Thursday night in Colonial Athletic Association action in Kaplan Arena. Amber Easter recorded her third double-double of the season as Mason dipped to 7-6 overall and 1-1 in league play, while the Tribe improved to 8-5, 1-1.
Easter chipped in 13 points to go along with a team-high 11 rebounds as Taleia Moton led the Patriots offensively with 14 points. Mason won the rebounding battle, 40-36, paced by Easter, who also tied her career-high in three-pointers going 3-for-4 from long range. Four players reached double-figure scoring numbers for the Tribe paced by Taysha Pye's 21 points. Emily Correal added 19 points, and hit a double-double with 11 rebounds, as Jaclyn McKenna and Janine Aldridge added 16 and 15 points, respectively.
The Tribe outscored the Patriots 43-28 in the second half, 36-22 in the paint, 16-0 on the fast break and 19-10 off turnovers. The conference foes worked through five tied scores and three lead changes in 40 minutes.
William and Mary used a strong start in the first half to build its lead out to seven points, 15-8, on an old-fashioned three-point play from Correal by the 13:51 mark. The lead was short-lived for the home squad, however, as Easter responded hitting her first three-pointer of the evening sparking an 11-0 Mason run and pushing the visiting squad in front 19-15 with 10:36 on the clock. Easter's second triple hit at 5:43 gave Mason a 29-23 lead before Joyous Tharrington, earning her first career start, handed the Patriots a 10-point lead hitting a jumper with 4:12 remaining. After the final media timeout, Aldridge knocked down a pair of three-pointers before Jazmen Boone brought the Tribe within five, 38-33, to close the break.
Shooting 46.9 percent in the second half, the Tribe cut its deficit to three points immediately out of the break before Mason pushed its lead back to double-digits at 49-39 off an Evelyn Lewis turn-around lay-up at the 16:07 mark. After a successful Rachel McNair trip to the free throw line at 11:29, the Tribe put together a 13-2 run to take a 57-55 advantage, their first lead since 12:09 in the first half. Tharrington knotted the score on a jumper, but William and Mary answered with a 10-2 spurt for a 67-59 lead with 3:51 to play. Moton drained four free throws and Cierra Strickland nailed a three-pointer to end the contest, but William and Mary took away the 76-66 victory.Mason will look to snap this current three-game skid when it returns home for a brief stay on Sunday, Jan. 8 welcoming No. 20/21 Delaware to the Patriot Center for a 2 p.m. matchup.