Dec. 21, 2013
"As we just told our players, we are really proud of them," said head coach Randy Norton. "It was a nightmare. We were not making our free throws. We have been about a 70 percent free throw shooting team, coming into tonight. Again, our girls just persevered. In that first half, we could not make layups. We could not make open shots, but we hung around. We got down as many 11 points, but our girls kept playing hard. They locked up on defense."
UAB (8-4) trailed George Mason (5-6) by 11 at the 10:46 mark, but the Blazers did not get rattled and put together a 10-3 run that was capped off by a three-pointer from sophomore Chelsee Black at the 3:26 mark. Chapman came up with a block and then found Grimes open down the court for a fast break layup to cut the lead to two.
UAB really picked up the defensive pace, as it held the Patriots scoreless for four minutes during that stretch and only allowed George Mason to score one point in the final 5:25 of the first half to head into the break with a 30-29 lead.
The Blazers held the Patriots to 36.5 percent shooting from the floor, while hitting 38.3 percent for the game after shooting 42.9 percent in the second half. UAB's tough defense forced 16 turnovers with 10 steals, and scored 21 points off of those turnovers.
George Mason opened the second half with a 6-0 run to take a 35-30 lead. UAB then countered with a 4-0 run after a steal by Chapman and a fast break layup. Then, a big defensive stop and a layup from Anderson pulled UAB back within one.
With 6:48 to go, Grimes hit a three, and then came away with a steal on the other end for a fast break layup to give UAB its biggest lead, 53-46. Black tied up George Mason for a jump ball to give the Blazers the ball back, then hit her second three of the game to put UAB up by 10.
The Patriots' Taylor Brown, who finished with 22 points, scored six points in a little over a minute to pull George Mason within three, 61-58, with 1:16 to go. UAB then had to convert from the free throw line as George Mason elected to send the Blazers to the foul line. Grimes went 6-for-8 in the final 30 seconds to keep UAB in front and hold on for the win.
"What a great way to go into Christmas break," remarked Norton. "It's always nice to have Christmas with your family after a win. We're going to give them off until the Dec. 26. We will come back and start preparing for Vanderbilt, who has an excellent team. I am very familiar with them from being at Missouri. They have been to the NCAA Tournament, I believe, 14 consecutive years. They have got a very, very good team. That will be fun to play them at home. Then we start conference play, so looking forward to that, as well."
The Blazers will have a short break before returning home to host Vanderbilt on Monday, Dec. 30 at 7:00 p.m. CT.
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