WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - The George Mason women's basketball team
dropped a tough 63-53 decision at William and Mary Wednesday evening to close
out regular season play. The Tribe went 20-for-25 from the free throw line to
finish the regular season at 8-21 overall and 6-12 in Colonial Athletic
Association action. Mason finished 9-20 overall and 4-14 in league play.
Janaa Pickard and Joyous Tharrington led the Patriots with
14 and 15 points, respectively, as Pickard pulled down a team-best nine
rebounds. Mason narrowly won the rebounding battle, 40-38, as W&M was paced
by Emily Correal's double-double of 21 points and 12 rebounds. Janine Aldridge
also posted double figures with 15 points.
Mason outshot W&M 36.7-to-34.5 percent from the field,
but the Tribe's 20-for-25 performance at the charity stripe helped seal the win
as the Patriots were limited to a 5-of-7 showing. W&M also used 19 Mason
turnovers for 18 points.
Pickard opened the contest hitting a trey as Mason took the
lead out of the break and would hold the lead through the first 18 minutes of
the first half. Tharrington completed an old-fashioned three-point play at
13:32 to give Mason an 11-6 lead before Melissa Collier, connecting on a trey
from the far wing, pushed the Patriots out in front 16-10 with 11:28 to play. Tharrington
handed Mason its first nine-point lead with a jumper at the 8:43 mark as the
teams traded baskets over the next three minutes before W&M used a 5-0 run
to cut the score to 24-20 with 4:57 to play.
Mason scored five unanswered thereafter, but the advantage
was short-lived as the Pride drained three triples on three possessions to knot
the score at 29 with 2:11 left in the first. Correal gave the Tribe its first
lead hitting a pair of free throws at 1:35 before Rachel McNair tied it up at
31-all on a layup with under a minute to play. Kyla Kerstetter closed the half
dropping her second three-pointer for a William & Mary 34-31 halftime lead.
Pickard would return the lead to the Patriots quickly in the
second half scoring the first five points, but the Tribe battled back and
regained the advantage on a bucket from Jazmen Boone at 15:54. Tied at 41-all
following a McNair jumper, Boone once again put the Tribe back on top as
W&M would extend its lead out to six at 47-41 on a Taylor Hilton bucket
with 10:02 to play.
As Mason slowly chipped away at its deficit, Rahneeka
Saunders and Tharrington hit back-to-back buckets to trim the score to 50-49 in
favor of the Tribe with 6:09 left to play. Leading 54-51, the Tribe's Jaclyn McKenna
and Aldridge put W&M up by eight, 59-51, with a jumper and triple with 2:00
on the clock. Collier hit Mason's final basket as Aldridge closed out the win
for the Tribe at the free throw line for the final 63-53 score.
As the #8 seed, Mason will face the #9 seed,
UNCW, in the first round of the CAA Women's Basketball Tournament on Thursday,
March 14 at 12 p.m. The tournament will take part at the Show Place Arena in
Upper Marlboro, Md. from March 14-17.