|Women's Basketball Falls at Northeastern, 58-54|
BOSTON, Mass. - The George Mason women's basketball team held a 16-point advantage at halftime, but a furious Northeastern team used a strong second half to take a 58-54 Colonial Athletic Association victory Thursday night at Soloman Court. Taleia Moton finished with a team-high 21 points as Mason fell to 7-8 overall and 1-3 in league play. Deanna Kerkhof scored a game-high 25 points pushing Northeastern to 3-12 overall and 1-3 in CAA action.
Behind Kerkhof's 19 second-half points, Northeastern outscored the visiting team 38-18 in the final 20 minutes. The Huskies hit 72 percent of their free throw attempts and 46 percent from beyond the three-point arc in the second half to seal the victory. Northeastern went 13-for-18 at the charity stripe led by Kerkhof's 9-of-10 effort while A'lece Mark hit two of the Huksies' five three-pointers.
Moton scored 13 points in the first half and finished with a team-high 21 points as Janaa Pickard added 14 to the board for Mason. Kerkhof led with 25 points and Mark added 10 points for Northeastern, which won the rebounding battle, 41-34, paced by Jewel Tunstull's eight boards. Pickard and Evelyn Lewis each pulled down seven rebounds for the Patriots.
Lewis hit the Patriots' first two buckets as the conference foes worked through two tied scores in the early going before Mason broke open its lead. An early 11-1 run by the visiting squad set a 19-7 score with 11:16 on the clock, but Northeastern cut the score to a two possession game, 22-18, using an 11-3 spurt of its own that followed.
Christine Weithman hit both attempts of a one-and-one before Rahneeka Saunders drained her lone three-pointer of the evening for a nine-point advantage at the final media break. Moton exploded for Mason's next nine points, five at the stripe, as Kerkhof hit a bucket in the mix for a 36-20 Patriot advantage at the half.
With Mason leading 44-28 after a Moton jumper in the second half, the Huskies scored seven unanswered points to bring its deficit to single digits for the first time since the 4:34 mark in the first half, standing at 44-36 with 12:08 to play. Moton pushed Mason's lead back to single digits, but the lead was short-lived as the Huskies rattled off a 9-2 run, slicing the score to 48-45 with 5:29 on the clock. Pickard and Amber Easter pushed the Patriots back in front by six, 51-45, but Northeastern's Jamie Conroy hit a jumper and the Huskies connected on four at the charity stripe, tying the score at 51-all with 2:57 remaining.
After a Lewis bucket, Northeastern took its first lead of the contest with three free throws from Christine Huber and Kerkhof, 54-53, as the clock hit 2:13 to play. Pickard hit the back end of a pair of free throws to knot the score at 54-54, but Kerkhof nailed a jumper with 17 seconds and converted two free throws with five seconds to seal Northeastern's first conference win of the season, 58-54.Mason closes out this two-game trip traveling to UNCW for a Sunday, January 15 matchup at 2 p.m.