A year removed from graduating one of the best players in George Mason Women’s Basketball history, Taylor Brown, the team is ready to end their 2016-17 campaign on a high note.
George Mason (13-16, 6-10) has had one of the most up and down seasons throughout conference play. They’ve played two on the best teams in the conference, George Washington and Fordham, up until the final minutes and lost against some teams that they simply should have. When the season ended they earned the No. 10 seed meaning they would have to travel to another campus-site to start postseason play.
On Saturday, the team will travel to Pittsburgh for the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament. Playing Duquesne (15-14, 8-8), who the Patriots lost to on Feb. 5 76-57, the team will look to rebound and earn a berth to the actual tournament site, the Richmond Coliseum, next weekend.
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Leading the Patriot squad is red-shirt seniors Kara Wright and Tiffany Padgett followed by a trio of freshmen talent. This season the Green and Gold saw Sarah Kaminski, Jacy Bolton, and Alexsis Grate blossom into some of the best young guards in the conference.
Wright, 14.9 points a game, has taken over the leadership role that Brown once filled last season. Her game however is not as reliant from behind the arc and thrives on her versatility to drive down the lane. In addition, she is the team’s leading rebounder, 6.2 a game, and also dishes out 3.1 assists.
Padgett has recently become a leader as the second half of the season has come on, only starting in 12 games this season but playing in all 29. At 8.5 point sand 5.0 rebounds a contest she is third and second respectively on the team in each of those categories. Naturally, she finds space in the post at 6’1″ but her mid-range game is what helped put her in the starting lineup.
The next part of the roster is where many should be excited about for upcoming seasons.
The trio of Kaminski, Bolton, and Grate consistently bring in 19 points a game. Kaminski, who started the season as one of the starting guards, opened the court for Wright so the ball does not always have to go through her hands. Although the past several games she has be substituted out with Grate, they both are formidable running the point for the team.
Providing the three point spark is Bolton. On the season she is shooting at 32 percent from behind the arc and leads the team with 32 three pointers. At 6’0″ she spreads the court and is also second on the team in scoring.
These five players are not the only reliable ones on the roster either.
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Junior Taylor Dodson is the perfect embodiment of a role player. Some nights she is asked to score, some nights she facilitates, and sometimes she can go in and grab a key rebound. Wherever the team needs her, that is where she finds success.
Playing in only 14 minutes a game, Casey Davis has blocked 26 shots on the season. At 6’6,” Bridget O’Donnell provides a unique mismatch against many Atlantic 10 opponents.
Bottom line, this team has talent but has not necessarily pulled it all together consistently. Their ceiling has not been built yet and what a better time it would be than to rise through it in the Atlantic 10 tournament.
But first it is the Dukes that the team will face if they want to advance to Richmond. Duquesne is a team that shoots fairly well from deep (32.4 percent) and can match the Patriots rebounding ability. If Mason were to take advantage look for it to be in drawing fouls and also defensively in trapping situations.
The winner of this contest will face the No. 2 seed George Washington next Friday, March 3.
Game time: 2/25, 2:00
Where to watch: A10 Network