The University of Rhode Island women’s basketball team defeated George Mason University 57-45 at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia, on Saturday to improve to 4-3 in Atlantic 10 Conference play on the season.
Rhode Island freshman point guard Charise Wilson achieved her sixth career 20-point scoring output, and tied another career-high by hitting five 3-pointers. Wilson scored 16 of her 20 points before halftime and finished 4-for-8 from behind the line.
“Charlise is a wonderful, wonderful person, and I love to see her interaction with the team off the court and for her to be a freshman and be our leading scorer is great,” Rhode Island head coach Daynia La-Force said. “The one thing she does well is show the team how to compete and channel her aggression and she has set the tone since day one.”
Rhode Island junior Tayra Melendez, who was 3-for-8 shooting, scored seven points, and added seven rebounds, four steals and three assists in 32 minutes played.
“Tayra does things for this team that you won’t find on the stat sheet,” La-Force said. “Tayra is our X-factor and why we stay competitive on the defensive edge and she is an extension of the coaching staff and does a great job of keeping the team focused.”
The Rams came out with a strong defensive effort in holding George Mason University to its lowest scoring output. While building a 31-22 halftime lead, the Rams defense held George Mason to 25 percent shooting from the floor in the first half of the game.
Rhode Island stymied George Mason’s Taylor Brown, the leading scorer of the Atlantic 10, allowing her score just 10 points.
“We knew our job defensively was to be aggressive, disrupt them and make it highly uncomfortable for opposing players by imposing our will,” La-Force said. “It’s taken a lot of maturity and growth to get to this point. The best thing about this team is every game has presented its challenge and we’ve been able to overcome it and be ready for the next game.”
After George Mason missed their first eight field goal attempts and finished the first half 8-for-24 shooting 30 percent, URI took advantage and was able to get big contributions from key players on offense. The Rams only committed nine fouls and Rhode Island outrebounded George Mason, 42-37. Junior forward Sydney Lewis keyed the offense, scoring 11 of her 15 total points after halftime.
Rhode Island finished 11-for-12 mark at the free-throw line. Junior Symone Bullard hit four in a row to seal the victory in the final 30 seconds. Bullard scored eight points and contributed two rebounds and two assists.
“I’m very proud everyone stepped to the line, especially Symone who has been a steady force for us in a lot of games and that shows her maturity and growth this season,” La-Force said.
The Rams return to the Ryan Center on Friday when they take on the University of Richmond Spiders. The Spiders are 12-8 overall and 4-3 in conference play.