FAIRFAX, Va. - Despite three players in double-figures, the
George Mason women's basketball team could not overcome a strong start from
James Madison to open the second half, falling 66-54 on Wednesday in the
Mason finished the regular season with a 14-15 overall
record and 8-10 mark in the Colonial Athletic Association, while James Madison improved
to 23-6, 14-4.
Amber Easter led Mason with her eighth double-double of the
season, scoring 18 points to go along with 15 rebounds to match her career-high.
Taleia Moton chipped in 15 points, while Evelyn Lewis added 10. Moton and
Rahneeka Saunders each dished out three assists.
Four players reached double-figures for James Madison led by
Tarik Hislop's 18 points. Nikki Newman and Kirby Burkholder added
double-doubles, while Lauren Whitehurst finished the game with 14 points. The
Dukes, who saw scoring solely from their five starters, won the rebounding
The visiting Dukes ran out of the gate with an 11-4 lead by
the 15:28 mark in the first half, but Mason cut the score to 11-10 fueled by
two layups from Lewis. JMU reopened a nine-point lead at 19-10, but the
Patriots took advantage of inefficient shooting from the Dukes and cut the
score to 21-17 at 4:12 using a triple and jumper from Easter. Moton hit a
jumper less than a minute later to make it a one possession game before Lewis
nailed a layup to tie the score at 21-all with 1:34 to play. Moton handed Mason
its first lead finishing a fast break attempt, but Newman drained a triple to
close the half and give James Madison a narrow 24-23 lead at halftime.
Madison opened the second half on a 12-2 run to expand its
lead to 36-25. The Dukes maintained a double-digit lead until Easter sparked a
10-4 Patriots run as Mason cut the score to 46-40 at 9:57 on a Joyous
Tharrington bucket. James Madison pushed its lead back out to 12 points, but
Easter followed an old-fashioned three-point play with a pair of free throws at
6:02 for a 53-46 score.
Whitehurst put the Dukes back up by 10, but Mason cut the
score to four points using four free throws from Lewis and Pickard and a bucket
from Easter for a 56-52 score with 4:07 to play. Hislop hit four free throws
over the next two minutes, pushing the score out to 60-52. Pickard made it a
six-point ballgame with a layup at 1:04, but Madison closed the game going
4-for-6 at the free throw line and a jumper from Whitehurst for the final 66-54
Mason has earned the No. 7 seed in the upcoming
CAA Women's Basketball Tournament and will take on No. 10 Northeastern at 5
p.m. on Thursday, March 8. The tournament will be held at The Showcase Arena in
Upper Marlboro, Md. for the second consecutive year.