|Women's Basketball Falls at Oakland, 62-58; Easter Crosses 1,000-Career Point Mark|
ROCHESTER, Mich. - Senior Amber Easter became the 16th player in George Mason women's basketball history to surpass the 1,000-career points mark, but it was not enough Friday night as the Patriots dropped a 62-58 decision at Oakland in the season-opener for both teams. The Patriots outscored the Golden Grizzlies 38-25 in the second half, but could not overcome their halftime deficit.
Over the final 5:35 in the game, Mason outscored Oakland 18-12 behind six points from Joyous Tharrington who finished with 10 and was one of three Patriots in double figures as Easter and Janaa Pickard each added 12. Mason won the rebounding battle, 38-37, using a productive second half on the boards, wining the edge on glass 21-16. Easter completed a double-double pulling down 10 rebounds to go along with 12 points. In her Mason debut, Kyana Jacobs secured six rebounds for the Patriots, chipped in four points and recorded three steals.
Mason came out of the halftime break scoring the first five points before Melissa Collier jumpstarted a 9-0 Mason run hitting a triple at the 14:19 mark. The Patriot spurt, capped by a fastbreak layup from Collier, set the score at 44-36 with 12:40 to play.
Trailing 50-38 with 6:56 to play, Easter drained a jumper less than 20 seconds later for her 1,000-career point and cutting the score to 10 points. Oakland reopened a 12-point lead at 56-44 with 3:45 remaining before another Easter bucket sparked a 14-6 Mason run over the final 3:32 to account for the final 62-58 score.
In the first half, behind 13 points from Annemarie Hamlet, who hit three of Oakland's five treys, the Golden Grizzlies carried a 37-20 lead over Mason into the halftime break. Janaa Pickard led the Patriots with six points as the visiting squad got off to a slow shooting start, hitting 27.6 percent from the floor in the opening period.
Pickard hit the first bucket to open the contest before the Golden Grizzlies used an 11-0 run to gain an 11-2 lead, forcing Mason to burn a timeout at the 15:30 mark. Mason responded out of the break and cut the deficit to three points, 11-8, using buckets from Pickard, Shavonne Duckett and an old-fashioned three-point play from Easter. Oakland scored seven unanswered over the next three minutes to take an 18-8 advantage as the Patriots worked to cut the score to 18-14 with 10:17 remaining.
Oakland answered Mason's offensive attack, regaining a double-digit lead at the third media break and expanded the lead to its largest margin of 17 points at the halftime break.
For the home squad, Hamlet led with 19 points, followed by Victoria Lipscomb with 12 and Olivia Nash with 10. Nash completed a double-double with 11 rebounds, while Lipscomb dished out a game-high six assists.Mason returns to the court and opens its home slate welcoming UMES to the Patriot Center on Tuesday, November 13. Tip is slated for 7 p.m.