STONY BROOK, N.Y. - Trailing by 15 points with nine minutes
to play, the George Mason women's basketball team rallied for a 54-50 road win
at Stony Brook Monday night in Pritchard Gymnasium. Rahneeka Saunders hit the
go ahead jumper with 1:41 remaining as the Patriots closed the game on a 6-3
run to seal the win. With the victory, Mason improved to 3-1 overall and 2-0 on
the road this season, while Stony Brook, which led for over 37 minutes of the
contest, fell to 0-3.
With 9:26 to play and trailing 44-28, Amber Easter hit a
three-pointer that sparked Mason's furious comeback as the Patriots staged a 15-2
run cutting the lead to three points, 46-43 with just over five minutes on the
clock. Stony Brook pushed its lead back to four, but Evelyn Lewis converted a
Seawolves' turnover for a two-point ballgame with 3:06 remaining.
After a Stony Brook timeout, Janaa Pickard blocked a Tamiel
Murray layup as Taleia Moton drew a foul and hit the front end of a one-and-one
for a 47-46 Seawolves lead with 2:02 left to play. Moton moved to the helping
hand for the go ahead bucket as the redshirt-senior picked up her second steal
at the 1:46 mark, passed it off to Saunders who connected on a jumper to give
Mason its first lead of the game with 1:41 left to play.
Lewis and Moton combined for four points in the paint over
the next minute and a half as Mason took its largest lead of the game at 52-47
with under 30 seconds to play. From long range, Stony Brook's leading scorer
Dani Klupenger hit her fifth triple with three seconds left to cut the lead to
two points, but Moton hit a pair of free throws for the final 54-50 victory.
The Patriots shot 50 percent from the field to outscore the
Seawolves in the second half 35-21 led by Moton's 16-point effort and Lewis
with eight points. Moton and Pickard each pulled down five boards as the
Patriots went 8-for-15 at the free throw line in the stanza. Moton was 6-for-7
at the charity stripe.
The Seawolves capitalized on a sluggish start from Mason in
the first half and led by eight at the 13:35 mark. Mason responded with six
unanswered points - four from Saunders - to close the gap to within one
possession at 12-10 and forced Stony Brook to burn a timeout, but the Seawolves
reopened a seven-point lead on Klupenger's third triple of the half at 5:45. Stony
Brook held its largest lead at the stanza at halftime, carrying a 29-19
advantage into the locker room.
Moton finished with a
team-high 18 points, four assists and three steals. Saunders added 12 points
and three steals for the Patriots who were out-rebounded for the first time this
season, 36-to-31. Pickard led Mason on the glass with eight boards. Klupenger
paced the Seawolves with a team-high 16 points off five three-pointers. Mason
shot 52 percent from the charity stripe going 13-for-25 while limiting Stony
Brook to a 7-of-13 effort.
After closing out this two-game road swing, Mason plays the
next five of six contests at home beginning with UNC Asheville on Sunday,
November 27. The Patriots welcome the Bulldogs for a 2 p.m. matchup for the
first-ever meeting between the programs.