By: Nicholas Gallo
George Mason University (17-6, 6-3 Atlantic 10) ran the table against the St. Bonaventure Bonnies (7-16, 2-8 Atlantic 10), defeating them by a score of 76-63 at the Reilly Center.
George Mason’s graduate center, Natalie Butler dropped 22 points and had 16 rebounds in her performance against the Bonnies. The Bonnies are now on a four-game losing streak, as they currently have a conference record of 2-8 and a home record of 5-6 at the Reilly Center.
The Bonnies started off strong defensively by blocking shots, going on the fast-break, and ending the first quarter only down one.
The Bonnies would hold up Butler, who averages 17.7 points per game and 15.8 rebounds a game to two points and two rebounds with the score at 15-16.
Head Coach of the Bonnies Jesse Fleming said they did a solid job on her defensively for a stretch but not for the whole game.
“I thought Butler was getting looks that were coming off our turnovers and bad shots,” said Fleming. “When we were getting crossed match in transition, we were trying to front her in the post, but you can’t front her because she’s just going to catch it over the top and score.”
Fleming added that when trying to double her, their five-man needed to stay home and bring their four to double. He said because of their miscues, they couldn’t get the double teams they wanted.
George Mason came out firing going on a 13-0 run in the second quarter. Fleming said they couldn’t make a shot.
“There have been times during the year where we haven’t made a shot because we haven’t run our offense,” Fleming said. “I thought tonight we were executing our offense and we were able to get some looks in transition and in the half-court.”
With 1:30 left in the second quarter, George Mason was up 33-21 after a made layup by junior guard, Camden Musgrave. The Bonnies made a short run in the final minutes of the quarter with back-to-back threes by junior guard, Mckenna Maycock, ending the half down 33-27.
George Mason would go on a 25-point outburst in the third quarter and the Bonnies could not keep up. George Mason was able to stretch their lead to 13 with 7:21 left. George Mason would own their largest lead in the game in the third quarter by 17 points with 34 seconds left to play.
“I thought we really played better despite playing poorly in the second half,” said Fleming. “I thought we competed on the boards, I thought we really moved the ball and looked to attack, despite not always being perfect, I did like our energy.”
Junior Bonas forward, Arielle Harvey, would rack up another career high at Bonas with 22 points on 54% shooting from the field. Fleming said that Harvey’s scoring outbursts are finally coming out these last two games.
“We recruited Arielle for what she is, a scorer,” said Fleming. “She can create her own shot, make three’s, she can get fouled, and we have been begging her to score.”
Fleming expressed that she was a junior-college player, so it has taken her some-time to get some comfort and now she’s starting to show her talents. He said she’s is a talented player and the stuff she does in practice and workouts is special.
Freshman forward, Abagail Johnson would return to the roster for the game as she would have to face the challenges of Butler on defense.
“It was tough for her guard Butler tonight,” said Fleming. “I thought the moving screen foul was tough on her and with her battling foul trouble, she didn’t play much in the end of the game, but she is only going to get better from her.”
The lady Bonas will finish their home-stretch of games on Sunday, Feb. 4 at the Reilly Center at 1 p.m. as they will face the University of George Washington. George Washington defeated George Mason on Jan. 7, 62-52. The Bonnies will look to protect home-court and get back on the winning track.