WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - The William and Mary Tribe women's basketball team used a strong second-half effort to come from behind and defeat the visiting George Mason Patriots on Thursday night, 76-66, at Kaplan Arena. With the conference win, the Tribe improves to 8-5 overall and to 1-1 in CAA play, while the Patriots fall to 7-6 on the season and to 1-1 in league action. The victory marked the fourth-straight win for the College over GMU and its seventh in the last eight contests between the two conference rivals.
The Tribe was led once again by junior forward Emily Correal, who tallied her third-consecutive double-double, netting 19 points while grabbing 13 rebounds. Senior guard Taysha Pye scored a game-high 21 points, including 17 in the second half, while junior center Jaclyn McKenna had 16. Rounding out W&M's double-figure scorers was junior guard Janine Aldridge who tallied 15 points while recording six steals.
On Thursday night, the Tribe came out and established their post players early against the Patriots, withand combining to score 13 of the Tribe's first 15 points, giving the College an early, 15-8 lead over George Mason. McKenna scored the College's first four points of the game before giving way to Correal, who was the highlight of the first half for W&M. Correal netted 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting in the first 20 minutes, while also grabbing eight rebounds.
Down seven points, GMU controlled the majority of the first half after that point, going on a 27-10 run to take a 35-25 lead over William and Mary with 3:18 left in the first frame.single-handedly cut the lead to four on the next two possessions, burying a pair of treys from the right side, forcing a Mason timeout. After GMU's Christine Weithman answered with a 3-pointer of her own, Correal converted a lay-up in the final minute, cutting the Patriots' lead at the break to 38-33.
Along with Correal, McKenna had a strong first half, scoring eight points to go with three rebounds. Aldridge had six points, while Pye added four. In the first half, Mason shot a blistering 51.5% (17-of-33), while the Tribe shot 40% on 14-of-35 from the field.
At the start of the second half, the College was able to quickly cut the GMU lead to three on a pair of occasions, but was unable to tie the game. With a 40-37 lead, George Mason went on an 11-4 run to extend its lead to double-digits, 51-41, with 14:29 left in the ballgame.
From that point forward, it would be all William and Mary. The Tribe quickly answered with a 12-4 run to cut the lead to a pair, 55-53. Pye then took over the game, turning W&M's two-point deficit to a five-point advantage after reeling off the next nine points for W&M. Pye was an absolute force in the final 20 minutes, scoring 17 of her 21 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
With a five-point cushion, two long 3-pointers from McKenna sealed the game for William and Mary, as the Tribe out-scored the Patriots over the final 14:29 of the game, 35-15. The College evened its CAA record on the season at 1-1 with a 76-66 win over George Mason.
Along with its explosive offense, the Tribe's defense and efficiency helped complete the comeback on Thursday night. The College limited the Patriots to just 32.1% shooting in the second half while only turning the ball over once in the final 20 minutes. W&M only turned the ball over 10 times in total and shot 43.3% (29-of-67) for the game. The Tribe was dominant in the paint and in transition against George Mason, out-scoring the Patriots 36-22 in the key and an amazing 16-0 in fast break points.
The William and Mary Tribe women's basketball team will wrap up its four-game homestand on Sunday, January 8 when the College will play host to CAA-rival Hofstra. Tip-off at Kaplan Arena is scheduled for 2 p.m.