RICHMOND, Va. - The George Mason women's basketball team
raced out to a double-digit lead early and never looked back as the Patriots completed
a regular season sweep over VCU Sunday afternoon in the Verizon Wireless Arena
with a 69-59 victory. Taleia Moton led Mason with 20 points, while Amber Easter
contributed 15 to the winning effort.
Mason improved to
14-14 overall this season and 8-9 in a key Colonial Athletic Association game.
The loss snapped a two-game win streak for the Rams who fell to 16-12, 9-8
dropping their fourth conference game at home this season.
Moton and Easter combined for 35 points in the effort and
Mason narrowly lost the rebounding battle in the final seconds, 38-37, led by
Evelyn Lewis's eight boards. Mason finished the game with 13 assists (four from
Rahneeka Saunders) and seven steals (four from Moton). Both Moton and Saunders
ended the game going 4-for-4 from the charity stripe as Mason finished hitting
Courtney Hurt completed a double-double with a team-high 19
points and 10 rebounds, while Andrea Barbour followed with 18 points and nine boards.
The Rams finished the game with 12 assists, four blocks, four steals and a
6-of-8 effort from the free throw line.
The Patriots used a balanced scoring effort in the first
half to take a 33-24 advantage into the halftime break. Mason opened the period
jumping out to a 9-4 lead by the first media timeout using a triple from Easter
and four points from Moton. The Rams worked their way back into the game, tying
the score at 11-11 and taking a 13-11 lead on a Barbour bucket at 12:22.
Christine Weithman knotted the score immediately after and sparked a 20-6
Patriot run over the next 12 minutes as Mason pulled out with a 33-19 lead at
the 3:01 mark. VCU closed the stanza on a 5-0 run for the 33-24 halftime score.
The conference foes traded baskets to open the final period
before VCU used a 6-0 run to cut the score to 43-38 at the 14:26 mark. Easter
nailed a triple and Moton pushed Mason back out to a 48-38 lead, but the Rams
responded with a 6-2 run for a 50-44 tally with 11:51 on the clock. Using a
pair of buckets from Cierra Strickland and Lewis, Mason worked back out to a
59-48 advantage, but VCU stayed strong, cutting the score to 61-55 on a
Christina Carter jumper at 3:40.
After two and a half minutes of scoreless play, the teams
went to the free throw line as Mason finished the game 8-for-8 at the charity
stripe to seal its first win in Richmond in five trips, 69-59.
The win marks the first victory for Mason in Richmond since
a 77-62 decision on January 11, 2004 and the first season sweep over the Rams
since the 2003-04 season.
Mason returns to action and closes out regular season play
welcoming James Madison to the Patriot Center on Wednesday, Feb. 29, for a 7
p.m. tip. Seniors Amber Epps, Evelyn Lewis and Taleia Moton will be recognized
before tip as they will take the Patriot Center floor for the final time donning
Green and Gold.