Plenty Wright going for GMU; host BU next

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Plenty Wright going for GMU; host BU next

The Patriots did not return to the mainland with the Paradise Jam title. It could be months before we learn whether either of George Mason's two victories earned on the island of St. Thomas prove NCAA Tournament resume helpful. Saturday's matchup against winless Boston University (4:00 p.m., Patriot Center) may not provide additional clarity. However, we know this much about the Patriots right now:

- led by guard Sherrod Wright, the Patriots are offensively potent and efficient. Among CAA teams, George Mason ranks first in 3-point shooting and third in field goal percentage.

- Following the return of center Erik Copes and swingman Vaughn Gray, Mason is legitimately deep.Like mixing and matching 12 players without a noticeable drop off in most spots deep.

- The team quickly rebounded from the stunning collapse against New Mexico, one that cost the Patriots a championship game slot, to soundly beat Quinnipiac. Plenty of talking points and questions remain for coach Paul Hewitt to teach his players heading into the non-conference game against the Terriers (0-4), but that's some legitimate mental resolve showed considering how the loss unfolded.

Throughout the three-game event, Wright made shots, which is hardly a surprise seeing as knocked down looks from all angles last season. The 6-foot-4 guard, Mason's top scorer in four of games this season, shot 48.4 percent while averaging 16.7 points at the Paradise Jam. Though Wright's 3-point touch proved faulty against Mercer and Quinnipiac, the junior drilled 5 of 7 from beyond the arc en route to scoring 22 points against New Mexico. Hardly a one-trick Patriot, Wright grabbed seven rebounds in the tournament finale and made 15 of 18 free throws during the three games.

Forward Johnny Williams paced the Patriots against Mercer with 16 points and 10 rebounds then went for 12 and 8 with three steals against New Mexico. After sitting out last season, the slimmed-down 6-foot-8 forward looks much improved both as a scorer and banger. Not saying the Patriots have flat out replaced the graduated Ryan Pearson-Mike Morrison production, but Williams and Copes (4 of 5 FG, nine rebounds vs. Quinnipiac) are eliminating fears that they won't.

Turnovers remain a concern - 19 against Mercer, 16 against New Mexico including a costly late botch - though the Patriots pressure defense forced 16.7 per game.

Though winless, the Terriers suffered close encounters against CAA-program Northeastern and Rutgers, losing by one and two points respectively. Guard D.J. Irving leads Boston with 18.0 points though collectively the Terriers are shooting only 40.8 percent from the field.

Elsewhere in the CAA this weekend...

Saturday

Hofstra at George Washington - 2 p.m.: After claiming three straight wins, the Pride (3-3) lost at Manhattan on Wednesday despite 22 points from sophomore guard Taran Buie, Hofstra's leading scorer. Though Buie and 5-foot-10 dynamo Shaquille Stokes thrive on the perimeter, Hofstra is shooting only 29.8 percent from 3-point territory. Defensively against George Washington (1-2), the Pride must slow down freshman point guard Joe McDonald and keep energetic center Isaiah Armwood off the glass.

James Madison at Miami (Ohio) - Noon: In between two blowout losses, including a 22-point drubbing by North Dakota State, the Dukes lost by two in overtime at Duquesne and defeated Youngstown State. Leading scorer Raysahwn Goins scored at least 20 points in each of JMU's first three games, but finished 2 of 10 for five points against NDSU.

UNCW vs. Wofford - 2 p.m.: The Seahawks (1-3) return home for two weekend games after three straight road losses. UNCW also hosts Hampton on Sunday.

Old Dominion at Murray State - 8 p.m.: Starting the season 1-4 is not what you expect out of a Blaine Taylor coached team. Ending the current 3-game losing skid against the Racers and All-American candidate Isaiah Canaan won't be easy, or likely.

Northeastern (in Great Alaska Shootout): Following Friday's semifinal tilt against Belmont, the Huskies will play Charlotte or Oral Roberts on Saturday. Guard Quincy Ford scored 14 points in Wednesday's opening round 61-52 win over UC Riverside.

Sunday

Drexel (in Anaheim Classic): The CAA preseason favorites opened the campaign with a fierce non-conference schedule. Bruiser Flint's squad has not shown they can handle, losing four of five games including Friday's 69-65 setback against Xavier. Rarely pretty offensively, two of the Dragons primary scorers - Chris Fouch and Frantz Massenat - are both shooting less than 40 percent from the floor. While other games exist before the Dragons open CAA play, their NCAA Tournament fate essentially now lays in winning the conference tournament. As for their current tournament, Drexel will face either Drake or Rice on Sunday.

Delaware at Temple - 2 p.m.: Historically this matchup would seem lopsided in the Owls' favor, but these Blue Hens (2-3) are a tough out no matter the record. Guard Devon Saddler went for 28 points in Friday's loss at Pittsburgh while 6-foot-9 forward Jamelle Hagins averages 13 rebounds and 10 points. Senior swingman Scootie Randall leads Temple (2-0) with 23.5 points per game.

Maryland women's lacrosse beats Boston College in championship

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Maryland women's lacrosse beats Boston College in championship

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- After a sporadic first half, top-seeded Maryland did what it normally does.

A 5-5 halftime tie was a 10-5 Maryland lead just 4:26 into the second half, and the Terrapins held on to beat Boston College 16-13 on Sunday in the NCAA women's lacrosse championship game.

"We struggled shooting in the first half," coach Cathy Reese said. "We came out in the second half on fire. Give these guys all the credit. They played hard. They played their hearts out."

Caroline Steele had six goals and an assist, Taylor Hensh scored three times, and the Terps capped an unbeaten season with their 13th NCAA title. Jen Giles, Megan Whittle and Kali Hartshorn each had two goals and an assist for the Terrapins (23-0).

Maryland played in its fifth straight final and won its third title in four years. The only NCAA tournament loss during that span came in last year's championship game, when North Carolina knocked off the two-time defending champ Terrapins 13-7.

"Three for four isn't too shabby. Finishing up your senior season undefeated is pretty awesome," said Zoe Stukenberg, who had three assists in her final game with the Terps.

The heavily favored Terps scored 10 seconds into the game, They racked up those five quick goals in the second half, but Boston College kept it from becoming a runaway.

"We were a little shook up again in the first half," Boston College coach Acacia Walker said. "They're just so smart. They just tuned in and did what they needed to do. Every person did their job and we just sort of plugged away."

Kenzie Kent had five goals and five assists for Boston College, which reached the championship game for the first time. Sam Apuzzo scored four goals for the Eagles, giving her 80 for the season.

Although Maryland never trailed, the Terps were pushed by the Eagles, who battled back from an early 5-2 deficit.

After being shut out for the last 16:11 of the first half, the Terps stormed out of halftime to regain command. Whittle started it with a goal 19 seconds in, then Steele struck for two 1:18 apart to get the Terps comfortably on top again.

"Caroline played great. She was on fire," Stukenberg said. "We needed her. Nobody else was and she stepped up when we needed her. It was unbelievable."

Kent kept Boston College close with three straight goals to cut the margin to 11-9, then assisted on Dempsey Aresenault's goal with 14 minutes left to get the Eagles back within a goal.

"I think it gives negative mojo to your team if you think of how many goals you're down," Kent said. "Instead, we take it play by play and I think that's what got us out of that hole."

Caroline Wannen scored for Maryland with 12:04 left to start the Terps on another scoring surge. Hensh put Maryland up 13-10, then, after Kent's fifth goal of the game, the Terps picked up three more goals by Kali Hartshorn, Steele and Hensh with 4:07 left to all but seal another title for Maryland.

Apuzzo added a pair of late goals for the Eagles.

Hartshorn put Maryland up 1-0 10 seconds in. Hensh made it 2-0 1:42 later when she plucked her rebound out of the air and swept it in behind BC goalie Zoe Ochoa. Apuzzo answered with two goals for BC to set the back-and-forth tone that would last until the final few minutes.

Maryland holds on to beat Denver, advance to national title game

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Maryland holds on to beat Denver, advance to national title game

The Maryland men’s lacrosse team is returning to the national championship game for a third straight year.

The Terrapins held on to beat Denver, 9-8, in the national semifinals Saturday afternoon at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Maryland’s Connor Kelly scored the go-ahead goal with 8:41 to go and the Terps defense held tight to preserve the victory.

Kelly scored three goals to pace Maryland on offense. The Terps led 4-1 in the first half and 5-3 at halftime before Denver tied it up at 8-8 with 10 minutes remaining ahead of what proved to be the game winner.

In the final two minutes, both teams had goals waved off because of crease violations – one from Maryland's Colin Heacock with 1:28 remaining and a second from Denver's Connor Donahue with 9.2 seconds left.

Maryland will now play Ohio State in the national championship game at 1 p.m. ET Monday. The Buckeyes beat Towson, 11-10, in the earlier semifinal Saturday.

For the Terps, the game will mark their 14th national title game appearance, though they haven’t won it since 1975. Since then, Maryland has finished as runner-ups nine straight times (1976, 1979, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016), including four times in the past six years.

The Terps fell 10-5 to Denver (2015) and 14-13 in overtime to North Carolina (2016) in the last two national title games.

In addition to the 1975 title, Maryland also won it in 1973. They also finished as runner-ups in 1971 and 1974.

The Maryland women’s lacrosse team will be playing in their own national championship game Sunday, against Boston College. The Terps beat Penn State, 20-10, Friday night, and Boston College rallied to beat Navy, 16-15.

The Maryland women’s team has won 12 national championships, most recently in both 2014 and 2015.