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Strong Second Half Leads Northeastern Past Women's Basketball, 60-51
Courtesy: George Mason Athletics
Release: 01/22/2013

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FAIRFAX, Va. - In a game of runs, the George Mason women's basketball team dropped a 60-51 decision to Northeastern Tuesday night in Colonial Athletic Association play. Seniors Amber Easter and Rahneeka Saunders paced the Patriots with double-figure scoring numbers as Mason dipped to 6-10 overall and 1-4 in league play. The Huskies improved to 11-6 overall and 4-2 in CAA action.

Mason led by three at the halftime break, but Northeastern shot 45.0 percent to Mason's 25.0 percent in the second half, outscoring the home squad 30-18 to take the win. The Patriots dominated on the boards, outrebounding the Huskies 41-28, including a 16-6 offensive rebound edge. Saunders led Mason with 17 points as Easter added 10 to the scoreboard, while Talisha Watts matched her career-high in rebounds, securing 12.

Northeastern, hitting nine treys, was led offensively by Deanna Kerkhof and Kashaia Cannon with 16 and 14 points, respectively. Jewel Tunstull led the Huskies on the boards with 14 as Northeastern converted 21 Mason turnovers into 21 points. Northeastern shot 42.9 percent from beyond the three-point arc, going 9-of-21 off four triples from Cannon.

In a first half that witnessed eight lead changes and two tied scores, the Patriots led by three at the halftime break, 33-30. The teams worked through four lead changes in the first four minutes before the Patriots opened a seven point lead using an 8-0 run spanning just over two minutes to take a 15-8 lead at the 14:24 mark. Northeastern answered with a 7-0 run of its own to knot the score at 15-all with 11:56 left in the period.

Sparked by a Joyous Tharrington bucket, Mason reopened a 24-18 advantage with a 7-0 run but the Huskies responded with a 7-0 run to take a 25-24 lead with 5:34 remaining. Cierra Strickland hit her second triple of the half to Mason back on top as the Patriots closed the half on a 9-5 run for the 33-30 halftime advantage.

Twenty three-pointers were attempted between the two teams in the first half as Mason shot 43.3 percent from the field to Northeastern's 40.7 percent. The Patriots held the rebounding edge, 22-14, and dished out 11 assists in the first half.

It was Northeastern that came out of the break strong, grabbing a six point lead, 43-37 using a 13-0 run consuming just under four minutes of action. Mason worked its way back and used buckets from Saunders, Easter and Watts to tie the score at 43-all with 11:52 remaining in the contest.

Over the next nine minutes of play, Northeastern held Mason to a pair of field goals while using an 11-4 run to take a 54-47 lead with 2:29 left to play. Kerkhof gave Northeastern the only double-digit lead of 10 points with a pair of free throws with 21 seconds left as Easter hit a free throw for the final 60-51 score.

Mason continues this three-game homestand welcoming the James Madison Dukes on Thursday, January 24 for a 7 p.m. tip.
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