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
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
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.