NORFOLK, Va. - Despite holding an eight-point lead with just under seven minutes to play in the game, the George Mason women's basketball team suffered a 71-68 decision at Old Dominion Sunday afternoon behind a late rally from the Lady Monarchs in the Ted Constant Center.
Taleia Moton scored 28 points, 18 in the second half, but Mason dipped to 10-10 overall and 4-5 in Colonial Athletic Association play with the loss. ODU moved to 7-14, 4-5.
The Lady Monarchs outscored the visiting Patriots 17-1 on second chance points behind 17 offensive rebounds as ODU won the edge on glass, 48-32. Tia Lewis posted a double-double with 13 rebounds and 14 points, while JoNiquia Guilford scored a team-high 20 points despite playing with four personal fouls for the final seven minutes.
Mason scored 36 of its 68 points in the paint and converted 17 ODU turnovers into 21 points. Amber Easter and Rahneeka Saunders each chipped in 12 points behind Moton's game-leading 28. Easter posted her second consecutive game of six assists to match her career-high.
A triple from Christine Weithman gave Mason its largest lead of the first half, 9-4, at the 15:31 mark before Old Dominion shook off its slow start and opened a 13-0 scoring run to take an eight-point lead, 17-9 with 10:12 on the clock. A Saunders layup from Moton snapped the run as the Patriots cut their deficit to one possession with a free throw from Easter.
Trailing by seven at 21-14, Moton hit her first field goal of the period at the 4:45 mark and would score 10 of Mason's next 12 points as the Patriots closed the half on a 14-8 run, cutting the halftime score to 29-28 in favor of the home squad. ODU used 14 offensive rebounds in the first half to account for 12 second chance points.
Easter quickly returned the lead to Mason hitting a pair of free throws to open the second half, but the teams would trade the lead back-and-forth four more times before a Moton bucket at 15:08 gave the Patriots a 38-34 advantage. ODU's Tia Lewis would cut the game to one possession at the 11:07 mark before Evelyn Lewis hit a bucket as the Patriots opened a 53-45 lead on a Moton trip to the charity stripe at 6:44.
Buchan hit a triple to ignite a 13-4 ODU run over three minutes as the Lady Monarchs took a 60-59 lead with 3:47 to play. Moton hit two treys mixed in-between three successful trips to the charity stripe for Jackie Cook as Cook's last trip gave ODU the final 71-68 advantage. Moton got off a three-pointer at the buzzer to try and push overtime, but the shot was off the mark as the Lady Monarchs escaped with the narrow win.
Old Dominion finished the game with an 18-for-25 appearance at the free throw line, while Mason was 9-for-17.
Mason continues this three-game stretch on the road traveling to Drexel for a 7 p.m. matchup on Thursday, February 2.