Thursday, December 8, 2011

UMBC snaps Mason's 6-game win streak; JMU mashes Maine

Thursday's results:

UMBC 65, George Mason 53: The final score makes this look worse than it was, as these teams exchanged the lead 22 times and the Patriots led by one with less than five minutes remaining. But those final five minutes were disastrous for Mason as the Retrievers got offensive rebounds, made it to the free throw line and hit clutch shots during their game-closing 17-4 run that resigned the Patriots to their first loss since their Nov. 11 season opener at American. The Retrievers also succeeded in containing Patriots star Taleia Moton (24.7 ppg), who had scored at least 30 points in her previous three games. Using a zone defense that neutralized Moton's attacks of the rim, the Retrievers limited Division I's third-leading scorer to just 9 points on 2-of-12 shooting. Erin Brown led UMBC with 21 points, Michelle Kurowski added 19 and Brittany Crowell, a transfer from James Madison, contributed 12 points and 9 rebounds. Janaa Pickard scored 17 points and Amber Easter had 14 for the Patriots (6-2).

James Madison 64, Maine 47: The Dukes' defense was the start in this one, particularly in a first half during which it produced almost as many turnovers (16) as the Black Bears had points (17). JMU led by 17 at the break and kept a double-digit advantage the rest of the way. Jasmine Gill and Tarik Hislop each had 13 points to lead the Dukes (6-1). The Dukes also got some much-needed inside scoring from starting forwards Lauren Whitehurst and Nikki Newman, who combined for 20 points. Newman's 9 points were particularly welcome, as she began play with only 13 points in her previous six games combined. Newman always brings the defense and rebounding, and she was productive in those areas again Thursday with 8 rebounds, 4 blocks and 4 steals. If she can add a bit of scoring punch, we're talking about an All-CAA caliber player - and the Dukes would be that much more dangerous a ballclub. Samantha Wheeler scored 16 of her game-high 18 points in the second half for the Black Bears (3-6), who settled down after intermission and played the Dukes evenly (30-30) over the final 20 minutes.

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