First-half woes doom WBB

Alonzo Small
Sports Editor

Sophomore guard Isis Thorpe had another double-digit scoring effort against George Mason University, tallying 16 points. CY File Photo.

A first-half 27-point deficit proved to be too large to overcome for the women’s basketball as the team fell to George Mason University on Saturday, Feb. 14.

Sixteen days after the VCU women’s basketball team defeated George Mason University at the Stuart C. Siegel Center, 70-66, the Pirates welcomed the Rams to their stomping grounds with revenge on their minds. The Pirates would achieve that feat handing the Rams their 11th loss of the season and seventh loss in the Atlantic 10 conference.

Led by sophomore guard/forward Camille Calhoun’s 21-point showing, three other Rams finished the game in double figures: junior guard/forward Adaeze Alaeze scored 17 points, sophomore guard Isis Thorpe scored 16 and sophomore guard Chadarryl Clay scored 15 points. Despite this, shooting woes plagued the Rams throughout the game. The women’s basketball team shot 25 of 67 from the floor and only connected on five of 18 three-point attempts. The Rams were able to get to the free-throw line, shooting 24 of 36 from the charity-stripe.

The Rams were the first to score when sophomore guard Ashlee Mitchell’s rebound led to a layup by Alaeze. Tied at 12-12, GMU would begin to pull away, as the team went on an 11-0 run to establish a lead that the team would not relinquish. A three-pointer by GMU’s Sandra Ngoie with eight minutes and 55 seconds remaining in the first half gave the Pirates their first double-digit lead of the game. Ngoie would score 16 of her 29 points in the first half, going four of five from beyond the arc. Ngoie’s performance helped the Pirates enter the break with 27 point lead over the Rams, 51-27.

The Rams would come out the second half looking to score early and often. A rally late in the second half would bring the Rams close but never threaten the lead. Although the Rams would outscore the Pirates 55-35 in the second half, it would not be enough to cap the comeback with a victory as the GMU Pirates defeated VCU to a final score of 79-86.

In the Rams’ last two games, head coach Beth O’Boyle’s team has faced a double-digit deficit entering halftime. The Rams have now lost four straight games and five of their last six entering the final games of the regular season.

George Mason’s bench outscored the Ram’s bench by 10, 52-42. The Rams held the advantage in steals, nine to the Pirates’ four. The Rams forced 17 George Mason turnovers, but the team was outrebounded by the Pirates 50 to 36. With the first half being the difference, GMU had a better shooting day than the Rams, as the Pirates went 28 of 64 from the floor (43.8 percent) converted 12 of 26 three-pointers (46 percent) and made 18 of 22 (81 percent) free throws.

In what could help steer the Rams back into the right direction, the team returns home for a two-game stint against George Washington University on Wednesday, Feb. 18 and the University of Massachusetts Feb. 22. The Rams close out the month of February on the road against Davidson College on Wednesday, Feb. 25.

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