WILMINGTON, North Carolina - Senior Amber Easter scored 17 points and added 13 rebounds to lead George Mason to a 65-53 victory over UNCW in Colonial Athletic Association women's basketball action Thursday at the Patriot Center.
The Patriots improved to 9-18 overall and 4-12 in the CAA as they swept the season series between the two programs for the first time since the 2000-01 season. The Seahawks moved to 3-23 and 2-13 as the suffered their third straight defeat.
Easter paced a potent George Mason attack that shot a season-high 46.8 percent (29-of-62) from the floor and had four players score in double figures as senior Rahneeka Saunders pitched in 14 while seniors Melissa Collier and Joyous Tharrington chipped in 12 points each. Easter's game-high 13 rebounds helped propel the Patriots to a 42-25 advantage on the glass.
Senior Karneshia Garrett paced the Seahawks with 19 points and 11 rebounds as she recorded her team-best 12th double-double of the season. Sophomore Kelva Atkins joined Garrett in double figures with 15 points while senior Tawanna Lee chipped in eight.
George Mason trailed only briefly in the contest, knocking down five of its first 10 field goal attempts to build an early 10-2 advantage before taking its largest lead of the frame, 14-5, moments later on a Tharrington jumper at the 13:34 mark.
The Patriots would hold a 25-17 lead later in the frame when a free throw by Atkins with 7:15 showing on the clock ignited a 10-2 spurt that would pull the Seahawks even at 27-all.
Mason would respond to the UNCW spurt, using a jumper from Saunders to spark an 8-2 run and build a 35-29 cushion, only to see the Seahawks use a conventional 3-point play from Atkins in the final minute to make it a 35-32 contest at the break.
The Patriots opened the second half on a 12-5 run to take its first double-digit lead of the evening, 47-37, and would take advantage of a 7-2 spurt midway through the frame to build a 54-41 cushion with 10:21 on the clock.
A 7-2 UNCW run would cut the Mason advantage to eight, 56-48, only to see the Patriots tally nine of the next 11 points to take their largest lead of the game, 65-50. A three-pointer at the buzzer by Atkins would determine the final 12-point margin.
Both teams return to action Sunday. UNCW is at Hofstra while George Mason travels to James Madison. Tip off for both games is set for 2 p.m.
George Mason increased its lead in the all-time series to 35-28 as it won for the fourth time in the last 22 meetings between the two programs. UNCW moved to 11-17 in 28 visits to the Patriot Center.
UNCW shot better than 40 percent from the floor for eighth time this season and moved to 3-5 when doing so.
The Patriots were just the 11th opponent to shoot better than 40 percent from the floor against the Seahawks this season.
Both teams shot 70 percent or better at the free-throw line as UNCW was 8-of-11 (.727) from the charity stripe while Mason was 7-of-10 (.700). It marked the ninth time this season that UNCW shot above 70 percent from the free-throw line.
Mason enjoyed a 38-24 advantage in points in the paint, highlighted by a 22-6 margin in the second half.
The two teams combined for just 23 turnovers as the Seahawks were charged with 13 while Mason committed 10 miscues.
The Seahawks were out-rebounded for the 19th time this season and moved to 0-19 this season when grabbing fewer rebounds than its opponent. It was the 13th time this season that an opponent held a rebound margin of 10 or more against the Seahawks.
UNCW matched its season low as it finished with three steals against the Patriots. It marked the second straight contest and the sixth time this season that the Seahawks have finished a game with five or fewer steals.
The Seahawks trailed by double figures in a game for the 19th time this season and moved to 2-17 when doing so.