FAIRFAX, Va. - Amber Easter recorded her fourth double-double of the season and the Patriots dished out a season-high 23 assists as the George Mason women's basketball team defeated Towson 78-54 in the Patriot Center Thursday evening in Colonial Athletic Association play.
With Mason's first win over Towson since 2006, the Patriots improved to 10-9 overall this season and 4-4 in CAA play. The Tigers dipped to 12-7, 3-5 with the loss.
Easter closed out the contest with career-highs of 21 points and six assists to go along with a team-high 12 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season. Trailing the Tigers on the rebounding edge at the halftime break, Mason out-rebounded the visiting squad 24-13 in the second half to pull away with the battle on the glass, 40-34 for the game. Taleia Moton recorded her third consecutive game with 20+ points, adding 20 to the board for the Patriots. Rahneeka Saunders finished with eight points, eight rebounds and five assists.
For the Tigers, Krystal Parnell and Krystin Fields led the team offensively, each chipping in 13 points, while Deree Fooks added 10 points and led on the boards with eight.
The teams kept the contest close through the first 10 minutes of play with the largest lead being three points as the conference foes worked through 11 lead changes and one tied score by the 9:16 mark. A triple from Moton handed the Patriots a 19-15 lead as the home squad built its advantage out to eight points on a Saunders bucket from beyond the three-point arc. Towson cut the lead to one possession on a Parnell layup and foul, setting the score at 28-26 with 2:03 in the first. Moton snapped the Tigers' 9-2 run hitting a layup from Saunders for the 30-27 halftime lead.
Mason outscored the visiting squad 18-8 in the paint in the first half, but the Tigers went 5-for-9 at the charity stripe while keeping the Patriots clear of the free throw line.
Towson continued its offensive spurt ending the first half, retaking the lead on a pair of free throws from Fields early in the second stanza. Saunders quickly returned the lead to the home squad with a jumper and triple to follow for a 35-31 score with 17:52 to play. With six unanswered points from Moton, Mason pushed its lead out to nine, 43-34, and continued to expand its margin, grabbing a 56-40 lead with 10:14 to play following a Janaa Pickard triple and Moton jumper.
The Patriots continued to maintain a double-digit lead, grabbing their first 20-point advantage on a Christine Weithman triple from the right wing at the 5:31 marker. A Joyous Tharrington jumper at 1:09 gave Mason its largest lead of the contest at 26 points as the Patriots closed out the 78-54 victory with a Talisha Watts bucket. After being withheld from the free throw line in the first half, Mason went 8-of-12 in the second half led by Easter and Moton.
Towson entered the contest winners of the past seven meetings against Mason as the last victory for the Patriots over the Tigers dated back to February 26, 2006.
Mason hits the road for the next three contests, first traveling to Old Dominion for the second meeting between the programs this season on Sunday, January 29 at 2 p.m.