|Women's Basketball Drops 65-49 Decision to Akron|
FAIRFAX, Va. - The George Mason women's basketball team opened strong in the first half, but could not hold off a furious Akron squad as the Patriots dropped their first decision in the Patriot Center 65-49 Wednesday night. Rahneeka Saunders led Mason with 20 points as the Patriots dropped to 4-3 with the loss, while Akron pushed its win streak to four games and improved to 7-1.
Saunders went 9-of-16 from the floor to contribute 20 points to the board for Mason as Joyous Tharrington was the only other Patriot to reach double figures with 12 points. Mason narrowly won the edge on glass, 34-33, led by Amber Easter's eight boards. A quartet of starters led Akron offensively as Rachel Tecca (24 points) and Kacie Cassell (13 points) combined to chip in 37 points for the Zips who shot 44.6 percent from the floor. Only Akron's five starters contributed to the scoreboard as the Zips' bench went scoreless in the contest.
Akron kept a close eye on the Patriots through the early going Mason's largest lead was six points. Saunders controlled Mason's offense out of the gate, scoring 12 of Mason's first 14 points as the home squad led 14-10 at 12:43. Trailing by two, Tecca jumpstarted a 10-0 Zips run as Akron regained the lead and led by six, 20-14, with 7:00 on the clock.
Making her Patriot debut, Annie Lawler drained a three on her first attempt from the floor at 4:21 to cut Mason's deficit in half, 22-19. Saunders sliced Mason's deficit to five points, but the Zips closed the half with a 6-2 run to lead 32-23 at the break. Tecca fueled Akron's 53.6 shooting percentage from the floor, contributing 14 points for the Zips as Saunders led Mason with 16 first-half points.
The teams traded buckets to open the second half until a successful trip at the charity stripe from Hanna Luburgh gave Akron the first double-digit lead of the contest of 41-31 with 12:39 on the clock. Akron continued to build its lead and took its largest lead of 19 points at the 3:56 mark off a pair of free throws from Tecca to lead 60-41. Mason came as close as 13 on a jumper from Saunders, but Akron closed out the 65-49 decision on a layup from King.
The Zips capitalized on Mason's miscues, converting 21 Patriot turnovers into 25 points.Mason hits the road next for a pair of contests traveling first to No. 9 Maryland on Saturday, December 8. Tip is slated for 6 p.m. in the Comcast Center.