|Atkins Leads Seahawks Into Quarterfinals|
UPPER MARLBORO, Maryland - Sophomore Kelva Atkins poured in a career-high 24 points to lead No. 9 seed UNCW to a 60-46 victory over No. 8 seed George Mason in the first round of the 2013 CAA Women's Basketball Championship, presented by Jani King, Thursday at Show Place Arena.
The Seahawks improved to 5-25 overall and advanced to the quarterfinal round, they will face top-seeded Delaware Friday at Noon. The Patriots finished their season at 9-21.
Atkins powered a UNCW lineup that shot 44.0 percent (22-of-50) from the field, including 12-of-26 (.462) from the floor in the first half. It was the seventh double-digit effort in the past eight games for Atkins, who also contributed six rebounds, four assists and three steals in an all-around effort. Senior Karneshia Garrett posted her team-leading 14th double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 rebounds while junior Jessica Freeman joined the duo in double figures with 10 points.
Junior Janaa Pickard tallied 18 points and added 12 rebounds to lead a George Mason lineup that shot just 34.0 percent (17-of-50) from the field, including a frigid 26.1 percent (6-of-23) effort in the first half. Senior Amber Easter finished with nine points and added seven rebounds and a team-high five assists.
UNCW never trailed in the contest, knocking down six of its first seven attempts from the floor on its way to building a quick 14-2 edge. The Seahawks took advantage of a sloppy start to the contest for the Patriots that saw them commit five turnovers and attempt just two shots during the opening spurt.
Mason responded to the Seahawks run, tallying 11 of the next 15 points to make it an 18-13 contest with 7:22 remaining in the opening frame.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Lee and would bring the Patriots spurt to a close and ignite an 18-4 stretch that lasted more than nine minutes and gave the Seahawks their largest lead of the game, 36-17, early in the second half.
Mason would once again cut into the Seahawks advantage, however, rattling off 11 unanswered points over a 3:30 span that made it a 36-28 ballgame with 13:46 on the clock to see the Seahawks answer with a 9-2 stretch that pushed the UNCW advantage back to double figures, 45-30.
Easter and Pickard led the Patriots back into the contest once again, teaming up to score 13 of Mason's 16 points during a six-minute span that would make it a one-possession game, 49-46, with 4:13 remaining.
Atkins kept the Patriots from getting any closer, converting a contested baseline jumper at the 3:46 mark to start an 11-0 run that would last until the final buzzer and give the Seahawks the 14-point victory.
UNCW moved to 29-35 all-time against George Mason as it picked up its 19th win in the past 23 meetings between the two programs. The Seahawks also improved to 5-2 all-time against the Patriots in the CAA Championship.
The Seahawks improved their all-time record in the CAA Women's Basketball Championship to 16-28 as they increased their record to 6-4 all-time in the first round. UNCW has won at least one game in each of its last six appearances in the CAA Championship.
UNCW did not use a substitution in the contest as all five starters played 40 minutes. It is the first time this season that the Seahawks went an entire contest without inserting a substitution.
Thursday's game marked only the second time this season that the Seahawks have not trailed in a contest (Nov. 28 vs. NCCU).
The Seahawks 15-point advantage was the largest halftime lead that UNCW has posted this season. The largest halftime lead the Seahawks had enjoyed this season prior to Thursday's contest was an eight-point edge at the break at Old Dominion on Feb. 3.
UNCW shot 40 percent or better from the floor for the 10th time this season and improved to 5-5 when doing so. The Seahawks have shot 40 percent or higher from the field in three of their last five contests.
The Seahawks were out-rebounded for the 23rd time this season as the Patriots held a 41-25 advantage on the glass. UNCW is now 2-21 this season when finishing with fewer rebounds than its opponent.
UNCW enjoyed a 26-12 advantage in points in the paint, highlighted by a 14-6 edge in the second half.
The Seahawks committed a season-low seven turnovers against the Patriots, breaking the previous season low of eight set at Xavier on Dec. 18. The Patriots, meanwhile, were charged with 18 miscues as UNCW converted those into 12 points.
UNCW moved to 3-3 this season and 70-8 since the start of the 2007-08 season when it holds a double-digit lead in a contest.
The Seahawks shot better than 70 percent from the free throw line for the second straight contest and the 11th time this season as they were 10-of-14 from the charity stripe. The Patriots were just 7-of-12 from the line for a 58.3 percent success rate.
UNCW held its opponent below 40 percent shooting for the first time in six games as it limited the Patriots to just 32.0 percent (17-of-50) shooting from the field. The Seahawks have held 16 of their 30 opponents below 40 percent shooting this season.
3 - Kelva Atkins
- Reached double figures in points for the 14th time this season as she scored in double digits for the seventh time in eight games.
- Established a new career high in points with 24, breaking the previous season high of 20 set against Charlotte on Dec. 5.
- Led team in scoring for the fifth time this season.
- Led team in assists for the 13th time this season.
24 - Jessica Freeman
- Reached double figures in points for the 16th time and the 37th time in her career.
40 - Karneshia Garrett
- Reached double figures in points for the 18th time this season and the 33rd time in her career.
- Pulled down double digit rebounds for the 17th time this season and the 25th time in her career.
- Led team in rebounding for the 24th time this season and the 42nd time in her career.