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Courtesy: CAA/Rafael Suanes

Mason Rallies Past Northeastern, 70-60

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 03/08/2012
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UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (March 8, 2012) - Seventh-seeded George Mason closed the game on a 17-3 run and rallied past No. 10 Northeastern 70-60 in the first round of the Virginia 529 CAA Women's Basketball Championship on Thursday evening at The Show Place Arena.

The Patriots (15-15) will face second-seeded and two-time defending CAA champion James Madison in the quarterfinals on Friday at 5 p.m. The Huskies closed their season with an 8-22 mark.

Senior guard Amber Easter recorded a double-double and led Mason with a career-high 22 points and a team-best 13 rebounds. Senior All-CAA guard Taleia Moton added 20 points and forward Janaa Pickard contributed 10 points, all of which came in the second half.

Northeastern got a career-high 25 points from forward Christine Huber. Freshman post player Jewel Tunstull had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Mason led 37-33 with 17 minutes left in the game before Northeastern caught fire behind the shooting of Huber. The Huskies' junior scored 19 points over an 8:30 span to give Northeastern a 55-51 lead with 8:20 remaining.

The Patriots were still down by four (57-53) with 7:30 to go when they made their deciding run. Two free throws and a jumper by Pickard tied the game and Mason took the lead for good on a Moton layup with 5:03 on the clock. The Patriots would eventually score 15 straight points to put the game away, capped by a three-pointer and a layup by Easter that made it 68-57 with 2:03 remaining.

Neither team could take control in an evenly played first half. Northeastern scored the first seven points to open the game, but Mason responded with a 14-2 run to take its largest lead of the half, 14-9, with 15:08 left in the period.

The Huskies quickly came back to tie the contest at 16-16 on an A'lece Mark rebound bucket and the lead changed hands 10 times over the next 13 minutes. A jumper from Moton with 51 seconds left gave the Patriots a 32-31 advantage at the break. Moton finished with 15 first-half points, while Tunstull had nine points and seven rebounds in the first 20 minutes for Northeastern.

Mason shot 39.7% from the floor and set a CAA tournament record by going 18-for-18 at the free throw line. The Patriots also outrebounded the Huskies 45-33. Northeastern shot 34.4% from the floor and was 10-of-14 from the charity stripe.