Box Score (PDF)
FAIRFAX, Va. – Down by 16 midway through the third quarter, it seemed as though George Mason would sail to a New Year's Eve victory over the St. Bonaventure women's basketball team. The Bonnies, however, staged a 10-1 rally in the final minutes and had a chance to tie on their final possession before falling short, 52-49, Saturday afternoon at EagleBank Arena.
George Mason (9-6, 2-0 Atlantic 10) used a 19-0 run spanning the second and third quarters to lead, 37-21 with 5:26 remaining in the third. The Patriots continued to lead by 13, 50-37, with 4:22 to play, but that's when St. Bonaventure (6-8, 1-1) began to chip away.
Bona held Mason off the scoreboard for three and a half minutes while pulling closer, cutting the score to 51-49 following a Matea Britvar jumper with 21 seconds remaining.
A foul sent Mason's Kara Wright to the line where she could just hit one of two, allowing the Bonnies a chance to tie. Following a Bonaventure timeout and the ball advanced past half-court, Mariah Ruff created a look on the right wing for the tie. Her three attempt went around the rim and out, though, allowing Mason to escape with the win.
Ruff paced the Bonnies with 18 points on the afternoon with Gabby Richmond adding 13 points and eight rebounds. Mckenna Maycock hauled in a career best 10 rebounds with Matea Britvar also registering 10 boards.
Unfortunately for the Bonnies, though, that would be the last of the scoring during the opening stanza as Bona went cold for the rest of the half.
The root of Bona's offensive struggles during the first half came back to foul trouble as its two top leading scorers on the year, Ruff and Richmond were each limited to less than 10 minutes on the floor after picking up their second fouls.
While the Bonnies struggled to find traction offensively, Mason put together a 13-0 run before the break to head to intermission with a 25-17 advantage. That run would stretch six more Patriot points as the hosts pulled ahead, 31-17, with 7:23 left in the third quarter.
With Richmond and Ruff back in the game the Bonnies would find some of the spark they had been missing.
Bona used a 10-2 break of its own to close within a 39-31 score with just over a minute left in the third. Whistles again halted the Bonnies' momentum, though, as Britvar was whistled for her fourth foul. Mason took advantage, heading to the fourth with a 43-32 advantage.
For nearly the entire game Mason held a sizeable advantage from the line, finishing 21-for-31 at the foul stripe while Bonaventure went 11 of 16. Fouls haunted the Bonnies throughout as they were called for 25 fouls to Mason's 15.
St. Bonaventure held a 40-38 edge in rebounding including a season high 16 offensive boards.
Wright led Mason with 20 points, but had just four field goals. She had 12 of her points from the foul line.
The Bonnies return home to begin 2017 by hosting Dayton on Wednesday, Jan. 4 at 7 p.m.
GAME NOTES: The all-time series is now even at 2-2. The home team has won all four games … Maycock's previous best rebounding performance was eight – twice earlier this season … Ruff has scored 18 or more points now four times this season including two consecutive games … it is Britvar's fourth double digit rebounding effort of the year.