BY NATALIE HEAVREN, SPORTS EDITOR
Women’s basketball lost 66-56 Friday afternoon to the University of Houston despite leading by six at the half. The Patriots shot just 33.3 percent and scored only four free throws in the second half compared to 38.7 percent and nine free throws in the first half.
Here are three takeaways from the loss.
1. Defending against offensive rebounds
Mason was outrebounded 50-38 which allowed Houston to grab 22 offensive rebounds, collecting one on half of the Patriot’s missed shots.
After the game head coach Nyla Milleson said, “The biggest thing was rebounding, they just killed us on the offensive boards. With their athleticism, you just need to find a way to get it and we just didn’t do a very good job.”
Mason also surrendered 22 offensive rebounds in their 81-52 loss to Washington. Grabbing defensive rebounds will help the Patriots limit both their opponent’s scoring opportunities and time of possession.
2. Three-point shooting is vital
Mason shot a season-low 13.6 percent from behind the arc, making just three of their 22 attempts. The team failed to make a three in the last 23:45 minutes of the game, missing their last 10 attempts.
Three-point shooting was something Milleson mentioned after the game, saying “We’ve got to be able to knock some of those [open] threes down.”
In five of Mason’s six wins this season they made at least 31 percent of their threes. Sophomore Marika Korpinen failed to make a three for the first time since the team beat Colgate University on Nov. 18.
3. Converting turnovers to points off of turnovers is important
Mason struggled to take Houston’s turnovers and turn them into points, shifting the Cougars’ 18 turnovers into just nine points. However, Houston moved Mason’s 20 turnovers into 19 points of their own.
This was only the second time Mason scored less than 10 points off of their opponent’s turnovers this season, the first coming when the Patriots scored seven points off of Kansas’ 12 turnovers.
Redshirt senior Casey Davis, who spent the game on the bench dressed in street clothes, is battling an injury according to Milleson. She also added, “That hurt us at our post, we don’t have a whole lot anyway so.”
Junior Alexsis Grate had to be helped off the court early in the fourth quarter. She averages 4.5 points and 2.9 rebounds in 16.3 minutes per game. Grate has started in eight of the Patriot’s 11 games.
Mason finishes out non-conference play with two afternoon home games. They play against the University of Maryland Eastern Shore at 2 p.m. on Dec. 29 and the College of Charleston at 2 p.m. on Dec. 31.