With the absence of their sixth man behind them, Mason seemed to struggle slightly over the winter break. They went 4-3 during the break with two of the losses being in conference games. With two wins since students have returned against Hofstra and Towson, the Patriots are now 5-2 in conference and 12-7 overall.
The team seems to still be settling into a rhythm. Many losses can be attributed to the Patriots’ foul trouble. In the game against the University of South Florida, Mason closed the gap to just a two-point deficit, but gave up four free throws late in the second half. They fell to USF 57‒61. The same scenario was seen when the Patriots made it to 80‒74, then gave up another four free throws in the final seconds of the game.
The Patriots seemed to be hit or miss for a while with losses, and then winning games by ten or more points. They also had their first blow out of the season against Old Dominion ending the game at 71‒46.
Many believe that Mason have found their offensive footing with their win against Towson. Bryon Allen replaced Anali Okoloji in the starting lineup and the Patriots started the game with a strong 6‒2 run and had Allen, Marko Gujanicic, and Sherrod Wright end the game scoring in the double digits.
If the team keeps their offense up, keeps their turnovers and fouls down and they see other players gain their footing, like freshman Patrick Holloway, then the Patriots will potentially bring in two more in conference wins when they travel to Northeastern on Sunday, Jan. 27 at 8 p.m. then return to the Patriot Center on Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. to host Drexel.
ASST. SPORTS EDITOR
The women’s team has not had an easy or laid back winter break like most of the students at Mason. They have been struggling to come up with wins only winning two of the seven games they played over break. With two other losses last Tuesday against Northeastern and last Thursday against James Madison University, it brings the women to 1-5 in conference and 6‒11 overall.
Their one in conference win against Towson on Jan. 17 was a glimmer of hope for the team with Cierra Strickland scoring 20 points and Amber Easter and Rahneeka Saunders scoring in double digits. They topped Towson that night.
Mason’s other win over break was when they just barely beat Georgia Southern 54‒53. They came back from trailing 32‒26 in the first half to scoring 28 points in the second half to squeeze by with a win.
The Patriots are falling behind their opponents in almost all aspects of the game. With average score-per-game being 55 and their opponents around 62 and turnover average being 18 is not the combination a team needs to increase their conference standing.
With women like Saunders, Easter and Pickard scoring and the team’s defense boasting the highest defensive rebound percentage in the conference, the women’s team does have the ability to begin winning more games and boost their conference standing.
Their next game is in the Patriots’ favor since they will be back at the Patriot Center on Jan. 27 at 2 p.m. against Georgia State. They are back on the road for their game against Hofstra on Jan. 31 at 7 p.m.
ASST. SPORTS EDITOR