The Explorers Are Eliminated in the Conference Tournament By the Patriots 64 – 58
WILMINGTON, DE 3/2/2023 –
La Salle could not advance in the Atlantic 10 as the # 9 George Mason Patriots won the second round game 64 – 58 at the Chase Fieldhouse. It was a close game throughout but the Explorers, playing from behind for the second half, could not get a key offensive run. It was a tough way to end the season.
“Obviously we’re disappointed, sweating and misery it’s so it goes,” said La Salle Coach Mountain MacGillivray. “I was really pleased with the fight. Hopefully we’ll be back up here at this press conference with a smile on our faces.”
Tightly Contested Game That Could Have Gone Either Way
The largest lead in the fourth quarter was 7 points, and that lead belonged to Mason. La Salle kept fighting back, but could not get over the hump. The Explorers tied the game once and were within a possession five different times. A key run on offense might have made this difference, but it did not come.
“I think that was one of our issues,” said Explorers forward Kayla Spruill. “Every time we scored, they were able to score which was also adding to the frustration. I think we stayed composed and were able to keep our heads for the most part.”
The closest La Salle got in the last minute was 61 – 58 with 46.2 seconds left on a Charity Shears free throw. George Mason put the game away hitting 3 of 4 from the free throw line. The game ended for the Explorers with a miss, then a three-pointer that went in and out.
Turnovers Were An Issue for LSU
In the miscue category La Salle had 17 compared to 14 for Mason. But points off turnovers heavily favored the Patriots by a 22 – 6 margin. The issue for the Explorers was that the turnovers came at key times when they were fighting back.
“No doubt about it,” said MacGillivray. “We had a couple of breakdowns where we weren’t secure with the ball, but George Mason was out there playing defense and making things happen.”
What the Numbers Say
Spruill may have played her last game as an Explorer. Will there be another game? Time will tell. In this game she registered a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Claire Jacobs added 10 points. Molly Masciantonio had 5 assists and just a single turnover.
La Salle shot 40% (22 of 55) and 6 of 21 from three-point land. George Mason was good on 23 of 62 field goal attempts (37.1%).
George Mason had two players finish in double-digits in scoring led by Sonia Smith with a game-high 18 points. Tamia Lawhorne contributed 11 points.
The rebounds saw Mason get 20 offensive rebounds. MacGillivray said it is hard to win giving up that many. The overall rebounding edge was 45 – 35. Nalani Kaysia led the Patriots with 10 caroms, 4 on the offensive end.
La Salle’s Perspective
“We have not been sharp on the offensive end at times,” said MacGillivray. “We know we shot the ball pretty well. This team has defended and fought for every possession. You know bigger, stronger bodies sometimes win those battles, but it wasn’t from our lack of fight. And that was not always the case in years past, so I’m really proud they made that happen this year. I think we set a good tone for the future of this program.”
“The reality is that this group took another step forward for this program. It was the first time we did back-to-back winning seasons in the Atlantic 10 ever. It’s the first time we winning seasons back-to-back in 19 years. The group that is graduating (Spruill and Shears) and the group right behind them have changed what is going on with this women’s program. I’m incredibly proud of them.”
The La Salle record stands at 17 – 14. Much is coming back next year. This will be a very experienced team.
Written By: Glenn Papazian