Nov. 14, 2013
FAIRFAX, Va. -- A 12-0 run conceded just before halftime spelled doom for the Utah Valley University women's basketball team as it fell to the Patriots, 82-64, Thursday night at the Patriot Center.
UVU (1-2) got great production from redshirt freshman forward Karlee Kartchner who recorded her first career double-double with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go with 14 rebounds. The Hyrum, Utah, native actually had completed the feat by the halftime buzzer, going into the locker room with 10 points and 10 boards in 17 minutes.
Meanwhile, Mason (2-1) got a double-double performance from one of just three seniors on the team in junior Janaa Pickard. The only returning starter on this year's squad, Pickard tallied a game-high 21 points alongside 21 rebounds. Pickard was the only Patriot to tally double-digit boards on a night that saw Mason outrebound UVU by a margin of 53-36.
"George Mason is a really good team and they hurt us in some areas defensively," said head coach Cathy Nixon. "Playing on the road against an athletic team like that it's tough to come back once you get buried early like we did. But I was proud of the way the girls battled and I think we can take some good things from tonight. We got a lot of good shots that just didn't fall for us and we took good care of the basketball."
Playing their home opener, the Patriots raced from the gates to a 10-2 lead. That stretch included one possession in which Mason grabbed three offensive rebounds (two by Pickard) and worked their way to the free throw line for two freebies from Pickard.
That hot start was maintained for much of the first half as the Patriots shot 50 percent from the field including a season-best 7-of-13 from beyond the arc. Gradually, Mason grew its advantage to as many as 19 at 35-16 at the 9:12 mark.
Facing their largest deficit of the period, the Wolverines found its offensive rhythm and reeled off 12 unanswered points over the next three minutes to cut the score to just 35-28. Kartchner ignited the rally with a layup inside followed by a jumper from guard Tina Doughty
-- two of the junior's 17 points on the night. A trey from Ashley Klemz
preceded a three-point play from Katie Kuklok
and another Kartchner bucket to cap the 12-0 rally.
"Karlee was huge," Nixon said. "She was somebody who matched up very well athletically tonight. There aren't many players that are as quick as she is and I thought she really sparked us defensively and on the boards. I'm excited to see how she continues to progress and grow as the year goes on."
But it was all Mason during the half's crucial final minutes. The Patriots mounted a 19-4 push to end the period, scoring 12 unanswered of their own during one stretch, and took a 56-34 lead into the break. Guard Taylor Brown, a transfer from Georgetown, scored 12 of her 17 points over the first twenty minutes while Utah Valley -- entering the game with a 3-point shooting percentage of 46 -- shot just 1-of-8 from beyond the arc.
UVU outscored the Patriots 30-26 and held them to only 11 made field goals in the second half, but could claw no closer than the final score's 18-point difference.
Guard Katie Kuklok was the third and final Wolverine in double figures on the night, scoring 11 points while swiping four steals. Freshman Georgia Agnew scored six points and recorded a game-high five assists to go along with four rebounds.
The Wolverines return to action Saturday at Longwood University in Farmville, Va. That game gets underway at noon MT and is the fifth game of a series that dates back to 2009 and each institutions days as a Division I Independent. The Lancers are 1-1 on the year.