TRIBE 74, MASON 63
Opposing teams have yet to realize that getting physical with Taysha Pye is not a good idea.
Although George Mason University (3-2, 11-12 CAA) players repeatedly knocked her to the floor, the freshman guard bounced back and made the Patriots pay, hitting 13 of 18 free throws en route to a career-high 23 points in the College of William and Mary’s (12-12, 5-8 CAA) 74-63 win over George Mason Sunday at Kaplan Arena.
Pye, who earned her consecutive CAA rookie of the week award, also had career highs in rebounds (11) and assists (6) in the victory. Pye scored 8 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in the last 9:03 of the game, during which the Tribe went on a 20-9 run to seal the victory.
The run began on a Tribe possession that featured more misses than makes. Senior guard Courtney Portell missed a three-pointer, and neither senior forward Dani Kell nor junior forward Tiffany Benson could convert on putbacks during the team’s 40-second possession, which ended with junior forward Kelly Heath’s layup and gave the Tribe a 56-54 lead.
Kell’s jumper and Pye’s layup helped extend the lead to 60-54 with 6:21 left to play. The College’s lead did not fall below 5 the rest of the game as it allowed only 9 Patriot points in the game’s final 9 minutes.
The Tribe’s defensive intensity was not as evident early as Mason leapt out to a 28-26 lead in the first half thanks to the shooting of guard Brittany Poindexter, who finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds. But a succession of jumpers from Kell and Heath, who finished with 18 and 19 points, respectively, along with consistent free-throw shooting from Pye, gave the Tribe a 41-32 lead at halftime.
George Mason tied the game at 48-48 with 13 minutes remaining on a Poindexter jump shot before the Tribe went on its game-winning second-half run.
Benson corralled a game-high 12 rebounds to become the seventh player in school history to record more than 700 rebounds and 700 points in her career.
The Tribe hosts Northeastern University Thursday at 7 p.m. at Kaplan Arena. Northeastern beat the College 59-55 Jan. 25 in Boston.