GMU Women 64,
William & Mary 48
With its point guard on the bench in foul trouble, George Mason was having all sorts of problems trying to run its offense during the first half last night. It appeared William & Mary, which had lost seven of its last eight meetings against the Patriots, was poised to pull off an upset.
But with Jen Derevjanik back on the court directing the George Mason women after halftime, the Patriots easily defeated the Tribe, 64-48, in a Colonial Athletic Association game before 577 at Patriot Center.
Derevjanik scored 13 of her 17 points in the second half to lead George Mason (5-4, 2-0 CAA). Vernessa Neamo had 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season.
Derevjanik "makes a big difference for us whether she's scoring or just the threat of her scoring," George Mason Coach Debbie Taneyhill said. "When she's on the bench, I think we play a different way."
The Patriots appeared out of sync in the first half after Derevjanik, the team's second-leading scorer and offensive catalyst, went to the bench with two fouls. She picked up her first foul just over a minute into the game. Her second foul came with 11 minutes 18 seconds remaining in the half.
"There's nothing you can do when you're on the bench," Derevjanik said. "You've just got to have faith in your players. Thank God, Jen Daniels and Lynnette Clark did a very good job. It wasn't bad."
With Derevjanik on the court for only five minutes in the first half, George Mason missed 20 of its 29 shots (31 percent) and was 5 of 13 from three-point range.
William & Mary (4-7, 0-2), however, failed to take advantage of George Mason's struggles. The Tribe made nearly half its field goals and out-rebounded the Patriots 25-11 in the first half, but trailed George Mason 26-24 at halftime largely because it turned the ball over 16 times in the first 20 minutes. William & Mary finished with 26 turnovers.
George Mason's defense kept the Patriots in the game to that point, holding William & Mary without a field goal for nearly 5 1/2 minutes in the first half.
"Going into halftime, we knew we didn't play up to our potential," Neamo said. "We wanted to come out in the second half pretty strong."
The Patriots trailed 31-26 when Derevjanik finally broke George Mason's second-half scoring drought with a layup at 15:59. That basket seemed to cure whatever ailed the Patriots' shooting touch as they scored on their next nine possessions to take a 48-37 lead.
Patriots Note: Advance tickets for Sunday's game against Old Dominion can be purchased for $1 apiece by calling 703-993-3270.