Women’s basketball begins their season with a commanding win
BY NATALIE HEAVREN SPORTS EDITOR
Mason women’s basketball opened up the 2018-2019 season with a 70-38 victory over Loyola University Maryland. This marks their largest margin of victory in a season opener in 25 years.
The Patriots were led by sophomore and reigning Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year Nicole Cardaño-Hillary who scored 26 points in 31 minutes. She shot 62.5 percent overall, including going 3-6 from behind the arc.
After the game, Cardaño-Hillary said, “[Winning the game like this is] very exciting and I think this will push us to continue our momentum.”
Sophomores Marika Korpinen and Camarie Gatling also scored in double figures, adding 13 and 11 points respectively. Not only did Korpinen score a career-high in points, she added three steals, two assists and two blocks for the Patriots.
The team got off to a slow start, getting their first points from two free throws made by Sarah Kaminski two minutes into the first quarter.
The game was tied at 4-4 with 6:19 left in the first quarter, but the team went on a 17-1 run to end it, including nine straight points from Cardaño-Hillary. Isabella Therien had all five points for the Greyhounds during the first quarter.
After scoring four points in the first 63 seconds of the second quarter, the Patriots would not score again for over seven minutes.
Mason took a 35-14 lead into halftime despite being outrebounded on the offensive glass 4-13. The Patriots made 51.9 percent of their shots in the first half, while allowing the Greyhounds to make just 13.3 percent of theirs.
Therien was the only Greyhound that scored in double figures, while Stephanie Karcz led all players with 17 rebounds.
The Patriots were able to maintain their lead in the third and fourth quarters, outscoring 35-24 in the second half.
After the game head coach Nyla Milleson said, “ I thought our defense was very good, there’s some things we need to clean up just a little bit … offensively when we score we score in bunches and we just need to be a little more consistent [with] the waves.”
There is room for improvement for the Patriots going forward, as they turned the ball over 20 times compared to Loyola’s 17 turnovers. The team also finished shooting just 47.4 percent from behind the stripe.
Mason finished the game shooting 52.8 percent overall, and 31.3 percent from behind the arc. Defensively, the team allowed more than 10 points in only a quarter.
When asked about what getting a win on opening night means, Milleson said, “Lots of confidence, and you know tonight is really about the last six months since the season ended last year, and the work that we’ve put in and the togetherness and the team unity, so you’re glad to see it pay off.”
The team’s next game is on the road at the Air Force Academy on Nov. 9. Mason’s next home game is Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. at EagleBank Arena.