|Women's Basketball Overpowers Drexel, 56-51|
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - George Mason trailed by as many as 14 points in the game, but the Patriots rallied for a decisive 56-51 victory over Drexel Thursday night in the Daskalakis Athletic Center. Drexel, tied for fourth in the Colonial Athletic Association entering the contest, dropped its second straight league game, falling to 10-10 overall and 6-4 in conference play. Mason improved to 11-10 and 5-5 with the triumph.
Taleia Moton scored a game-high 28 points recording her fourth consecutive game of 20+ points as Janaa Pickard, playing in front of her home crowd, chipped in 13 for the Patriots. Moton tied her career-high at the charity stripe, going 12-for-14 including a 5-of-7 effort over the final 1:13. Pickard finished the game with six rebounds, two steals and two blocks.
After scoring 29 of Drexel's 31 first half points, Hollie Mershon and Kamile Nacickaite were held to a combined eight points in the second half. Mershon capped the game with a team-high 23 points as Nacickaite contributed 14 to the scoreboard. The team's leading scorer, Nacickaite was scoreless from the field in the final 20 minutes as Mershon connected on two field goals.
Drexel kept the visiting Patriots off the scoreboard for the first four plus minutes of action, opening a 6-0 advantage before Mason knotted it up at 6-all on a Pickard layup inside the 14 minute mark. Nacickaite drained a pair of triples bookending a Pickard trip to the charity stripe for a 12-8 Dragon lead at 13:11. Coming out of the second media break, Mershon rattled off the next 12 points for Drexel pushing the Dragons out to a double-digit lead at 24-13 with 6:38 to play.
Talisha Watts cut the score to a single-digit deficit hitting a layup before Moton closed out the half connecting on two at the charity stripe for the 31-23 Drexel advantage. Drexel saw offensive outputs from only three players in the stanza led by Mershon's 17 points, while Nacickaite hit three of the Dragon's five triples for 12 points in the period. Mason was limited to a 28.6 percent shooting effort from the floor to Drexel's 40.7 percent.
Pickard opened the second half for Mason, draining a trey immediately out of the break. After Mershon hit a jumper for a nine-point Dragon lead, Drexel would score two points over the next 12 minutes as the Patriots used a 10-0 run to take its first lead of the contest following an Easter jumper from the left wing at 10:24.
After Nicole Jones broke the run, Moton scored another seven unanswered over a three minute span, handing the Patriots 47-41 margin as the clock hit 4:36 to play. Tyler Hale sliced the score to a four point margin with a jumper at 3:26, but the Patriots closed the final three minutes going 9-for-11 from the free throw line to seal their first conference win on the road, 56-51. After shooting 45.5 percent from beyond the arc in the first half, Drexel was stifled in the second, hitting 1-of-13 (7.7%).
The win marked only the second win for Mason at Drexel and first since February 13, 2003.Mason rounds out this three-game swing making a visit to James Madison on Sunday, February 5. Tip is slated for 2 p.m. in Harrisonburg.