FAIRFAX, Va. – This Election Day, it wasn't even close – George Mason won in a landslide.
A trio of sophomores led the Patriots in a 70-38 victory over Loyola (Md.) in the season opener on Tuesday at EagleBank Arena. Nicole Cardaño-Hillary
, Marika Korpinen
and Camarie Gatling
combined for 45 points as Mason posted its most lopsided victory in a season opener in 25 years.
Cardano-Hillary, the 2018 Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year, paced Mason with 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting. Korpinen scored a career-high 13 points off the bench in addition to three steals, two assists and two blocked shots. Gatling also came off the bench to score 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting.
Mason, which won a school-record 24 games last year and advanced to the WNIT for the first time since 2004, won its season opener for the second time in three years. The entire team, plus former players Tayler Dodson
and Camden Musgrave
, were honored on the court for their WNIT appearance and first postseason win in program history, in the first half of the men's game later in the night.
The Patriots used a 19-1 run midway through the first quarter and into the second quarter to pull away. Cardano-Hillary, who has scored in double figures in 34 of 35 career games, sparked the spurt and had 13 points by the end of the first quarter. Cardano-Hillary rattled off 11 straight points, capping off a personal 11-0 run with her first 3-pointer of the year. She then added a layup to begin the second period to boost Mason's lead to 23-5 with 9:49 to go in the half.
Defensively, Mason put the clamps down, holding the Greyhounds to 20 percent shooting (12-of-60) from the field. Loyola (0-1) scored more than 10 points in just one period and had only five in the opening quarter.
The Patriots, conversely, shot 52.8 percent from the field (28-of-53). Eight players scored as sophomore Allie McCool
contributed seven points off the bench and freshmen Livija Kaktaite
and Devyn Wilson
scored the first points of their career. Mason outrebounded the Greyhounds 44-38, with Jacy Bolton
and Casey Davis
leading the team with six rebounds apiece. The teams combined for 37 turnovers, including 20 by Mason.
Mason hits the road to play Air Force at 2 p.m. on Friday in Colorado Springs, Colo.