|Women's Basketball Tops UNCW on Valentine's Day, 62-52|
WILMINGTON, N.C. - Behind three players in double figures, the George Mason women's basketball team topped UNCW 62-52 in Colonial Athletic Association play on Valentine's Day in the Trask Coliseum. Joyous Tharrington dropped a career-high 18 points as Mason recorded its first win at UNCW since 2005.
The win, Mason's second straight, pushed the Patriots to 8-14 overall and 3-8 in league play. UNCW dipped to 2-20 on the season and 1-10 in the CAA.
Tharrington led a trio of Patriots in double figures with 18 points, followed by Janaa Pickard with 14 and Amber Easter with 12. Easter finished the game with four of Mason's 10 assists, six rebounds and one steal. Mason shot 40.7 percent from the field for the game and 41.4 percent in the second half. With a 14-of-16 effort at the charity stripe, Mason went 12-for-16 at the free throw line in the second half, including a 7-of-8 showing over the final 1:21. Mason tied its season low in turnovers with eight, while forcing 15 by the Seahawks.
Mason and UNCW switched leads 10 times and stood tied seven times through the first 20 minutes of play as the Seahawks took a narrow 27-26 lead into the halftime break. The largest lead by either team stood at four by UNCW at the 9:02 mark as neither team led by more than two points until the Seahawks grabbed its 16-12 lead over halfway through the first period.
Shavonne Duckett returned the lead to Mason with a bucket at 6:58 for an 18-17 advantage, but Jessica Freeman quickly put the Seahawks back on top with a triple to follow. UNCW would maintain the lead the remainder of the half despite Mason tying the score twice.
An 8-4 run to open the second half by Mason put the Patriots on top 34-31 at the first media break at 14:17 as the visiting squad expanded its lead to 38-32 following a Pickard jumper at the 13:24 mark. A pair of free throws from Easter out of the second media timeout put Mason up by eight, 42-34, as Melissa Collier gave Mason the first double-digit lead of the game hitting a jumper at 7:48 for a 49-39 lead.
Freeman snapped an 8-0 Mason run for a 53-41 ballgame with 6:01 left to play as Freeman then cut the deficit to single digits nailing a three-pointer at 3:13 for a 55-48 contest. Mason would go to the line the remainder of the game as Kelva Atkins hit the Seahawks' final two field goals of the contest.
For UNCW, Karneshia Garrett led the Seahawks with 15 points and 19 rebounds, while Freeman finished the game with 14. The Seahawks won the rebounding battle, 46-37, including a 24-15 offensive rebounding edge.
The win marked head coach Jeri Porter's 50th career win at George Mason and Mason's first win over the Seahawks since 2010. The last time Mason defeated UNCW on the road dates back to January 20, 2005.Mason returns to the Patriot Center to play two of its final three home games beginning with a televised contest on Sunday against Towson. Tip is slated for 5 p.m. and will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet.