FAIRFAX, Va. - The George Mason women's basketball team went
10-for-12 at the charity stripe over the final four minutes and held on for a
58-55 victory over UAB in a Sunday matinee at the Patriot Center. Three players
scored in double-figures as Janaa Pickard recorded her second double-double of
the season helping Mason improve to 4-2 on the year. UAB suffered only its
second loss of the season, falling to 7-2.
Senior Rahneeka Saunders led Mason offensively with 16
points, followed by Amber Easter with 13 and Pickard with 11. Pickard led Mason
on the boards, pulling down 11, as the Patriots out-rebounded the Blazers,
UAB's offense was distributed amongst four players as all
four reached double-figures led by Ashley Grimes' game-high 18 points. Chelsee
Black added 14, while Amber Jones chipped in 13 and Karisma Chapman rounded out
the scoring with 10 points. Chapman also led on the glass, securing nine boards
as the Blazers outscored the Patriots in the paint, 36-28 and converted 22
Mason turnovers into 22 points.
Mason kept the Blazers off the scoreboard through the first
five minutes of action to take a 7-0 lead, but the visiting squad fought back
and narrowed its deficit to just one point, 10-9, following a pair of free
throws from Black at 10:34. The Patriots built their lead back out to 17-11 off
a three-point play from Pickard at 9:16 and used an 8-0 run highlighted by six
points from Kyana Jacobs to grab a 27-17 advantage with 3:30 left to play in
the first half.
The Blazers would score the final five points of the period to
lead the teams into the locker room with Mason leading 27-22. Pickard and
Jacobs led Mason offensively with eight points each as the Patriots shot 40.0
percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes, while UAB shot 26.5 percent.
A 13-2 run, fueled by eight points from Grimes, to open the
second half from the Blazers put UAB on top 35-29 at the first media timeout at
15:38 as the visiting squad would hold the lead the majority of the second half. Mason slowly chipped away at its deficit and a trey from Easter at 9:52
set the score at 40-39 UAB with 9:52 in the second.
Jacobs knotted the score at 40-all with a free throw before
UAB took its largest lead of the contest answering with a 9-0 run. Mason responded
with a spurt of its own, draining the next nine points over two minutes as
Saunders tied the score from the free throw line at 49-49 with 3:23 left to
UAB pushed its lead out to four, but it was short-lived as
Saunders scored the next seven points, four at the charity stripe, to return
the lead to Mason, 56-53 with 29.9 left in the game. Chapman hit a layup at
15.3 as Saunders hit the front end of a pair of free throws and Easter
connected on the back end for the final 58-55 score.
Mason returns to the court and closes out this
two-game homestand welcoming Akron to the Patriot Center on Wednesday, December
5 for a 7 p.m. tip.