FAIRFAX, VA - In the Colonial Athletic Association home opener for the George Mason women's basketball team, the Patriots dropped a hard-fought 67-53 decision to Hofstra in a Sunday matinee in the Patriot Center. Senior Amber Easter paced the Patriots with 17 points as Mason dipped to 5-9 overall and 0-3 in CAA play. Hofstra pushed its win streak to six games and improved to 7-7 and 3-0 in conference action.
Mason dominated on the glass, winning the rebounding battle 41-29, including a 23-13 edge in offensive boards over Hofstra. The Patriots distributed the effort as Mason's leading rebounder was Easter with seven. The senior scored a team-high 17 points as Joyous Tharrington contributed eight points to the scoreboard.
Hofstra was led offensively by four players in double-figure scoring numbers. Andreana Thomas led the quartet with a game-high 18 points as Shante Evans, who became Hofstra's all-time leading scorer, and Asia Jackson each added 12 points. Thomas finished the game with six of Hofstra's 20 assists and one steal. The Pride outscored Mason in the paint, 40-20.
In the first half, Mason outrebounded Hofstra 21-15, but strong shooting from the Pride allowed the visiting team to carry a 28-23 lead into the halftime break. The teams opened the game trading baskets as Hofstra grabbed a seven-point lead, 17-10, off an Evans jumper at the 10:42 mark. Mason responded with back-to-back buckets from Easter and Melissa Collier, slicing the score to 17-15 with 8:26 left in the first half.
Over the next 2:54, Mason went 0-for-8 from the field as Hofstra posted six unanswered for a 23-15 advantage. The Patriots answered with a 6-0 run of their own, drawing the score to 23-21 with 2:08 remaining in the period. Shavonne Duckett hit a jumper with 18 seconds on the clock for the halftime score of 28-23 in favor of the Pride. In the first half, Mason pulled down 13 offensive rebounds led by Tharrington and Rahneeka Saunders, each with three.
Mason came out of the halftime break on fire, quickly cutting the score to one point, forcing Hofstra to burn a timeout with less than a minute off the clock. The Pride came out of the timeout to regain a seven point lead, 36-29, with 14:09 on the clock.
Easter and Kyana Jacobs combined to pull Mason to within five points at 42-37 at the 9:03 mark, but that would be the closest Mason would come as Hofstra continued to pull away. Talisha Watts cut the score to single digits at 53-44 draining a pair of free throws at the 5:43 mark, but the Pride opened its largest lead of 16 points twice thereafter. Duckett closed the contest hitting a jumper at the buzzer for the final 67-53 score.
Mason hit 88.2 percent from the free throw line, going 15-for-17, while limiting Hofstra to a 3-for-7 effort.Mason returns to the road for one game traveling to Towson on Thursday, January 17 for a 7 p.m. tip in the Towson Center.