FAIRFAX, Va. - Behind Taleia Moton's career-high 32 points, the George Mason women's basketball team edged visiting UMass Thursday night, 55-52, in the Patriot Center to push its win streak to five games. The Patriots moved to 5-1 on the season, while the Minutewomen dipped to 1-6.
In the early going, Mason grabbed a 12-6 lead within three minutes of the tip as the Patriots picked up triples from Rahneeka Saunders, Moton and Christine Weithman, while Moton also converted on an old-fashioned three-point play. The Minutewomen answered with an 8-4 run cutting the score to a one possession game with 11:11 remaining in the period.
The Patriots built their lead back, taking a 10-point advantage at 28-18 as Moton connected on a pair of free throws at the 5:43 mark. UMass, however, would hold the Patriots scoreless the rest of the stanza while hitting four unanswered field goals, cutting the score to 28-27 at the break. Moton led all scorers through the first 20 minutes, draining 16 points behind 6-of-10 shooting.
Moton snapped Mason's seven-minute scoring drought hitting a jumper just over three minutes into the second half. After Jasmine Watson brought the Minutewomen to within two points at 36-34 with 14:24, Moton went on a 7-0 run pushing the Mason lead back out to nine points, 43-34 with 12:06 to play.
UMass slowly chipped at its deficit and sliced the score to a 51-48 Mason advantage at 6:21 on an Emilie Teuscher three-pointer. The Minutewomen cut the score to a one point game when Aisha Rodney made a pair of free throws, but Moton hit two jumpers down the stretch as the Patriots held off UMass, 55-52.
Moton led all scorers with a career-high 32 points to mark the third time this season the redshirt senior has scored 30 or more points in a game. Saunders paced Mason on the glass pulling down 11 rebounds as Mason won the rebounding battle, 39-37. UMass posted three players in double-figure scoring led by Watson and Shakia Robinson each with 14 points. Megan Zullo added 10 points and a team-high five assists. Robinson also led the Minutewomen on the boards with seven rebounds.
Mason returns to action on Sunday, December 4 welcoming the Old Dominion Lady Monarchs to open the Colonial Athletic Association slate. Tip is slated for a 2 p.m. start for the Game of the Week.