By Danny Marks
Thanks to a stellar performance from its star players and an impressive 13-3 run in the game’s closing minutes, the George Mason women’s basketball team’s seemingly improbable NCAA tournament hopes are still alive.
It has been an up-and-down season for the George Mason women’s basketball team, and tonight’s matchup against Northeastern was no exception. The Lady Patriots managed to overcome 15 turnovers, 15 lead changes and an uncharacteristically resilient Huskies squad to advance to the next round of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament. Today’s victory marks the first time in six seasons that the team has advanced past the first round.
The Patriots were paced by junior Amber Easter, who turned in an impressive all-around effort, scoring 23 points to go with 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a block. All-CAA senior Taleia Motion was in top form tonight as well, with 20 points on 8 of 13 shooting.
Perhaps the biggest key to Mason’s victory tonight lies in their prolific free throw shooting. The Patriots were a perfect 18 of 18 from the charity stripe, 10 for 10 in the second half. The relentless attack of the rim was the most effective method of stopping the offensive onslaught of Northeastern guard Christine Huber, who scored 19 of her 25 points in the second half but was forced to miss valuable time down the stretch due to foul trouble. With Huber temporarily out of commission, the Patriots’ defense was able to key on the rest of the Huskies roster, who scored just 10 points combined in the 2nd half.
Next up for the Lady Patriots is a matchup with the 2nd seeded James Madison, who are playing their best basketball of the season at just the right time. The Lady Dukes have won 8 of their last 9 contests, including two against George Mason. After a lackluster loss at the hands of JMU on Senior Night, the Lady Patriots shouldn’t be lacking in motivation. If they can carry over the momentum gained from tonight’s performance, a trip to the tournament semifinals isn’t so far-fetched.