JMU women’s basketball captures 77-55 win at Northeastern

jmu logoJames Madison women’s basketball opened at Northeastern on a 9-0 run and never looked back as the Dukes earned a 77-55 win in their Colonial Athletic Association road opener on Friday night at Cabot Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

JMU is 3-0 to start conference play and 12-2 overall while NEU sits at 0-3 against league foes and 3-10 overall.

Four Dukes scored in double figures, led by redshirt-junior guard Jazmon Gwathmey (Bealeton, Va./Liberty H.S.) with 14 points. Redshirt-senior center Lauren Okafor (Hamden, Conn./Hopkins School (Providence)) followed with 13 points while senior forward Toia Giggetts (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor) added 12 points.

Freshman guard Hailee Barron (Burlington, Vt./Rice Memorial) notched her first double-digit performance, dropping a career-high 10 points off 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc and going 1-of-2 at the line. She also added a career-high three rebounds over 11 minutes of play.

JMU shot 45.5 percent from the floor (30-66) with a 50.0 percent clip from beyond the arc (9-18). Of the 30 made field goals, the Dukes tallied 22 assists with junior point guard Angela Mickens (Staunton, Va./Robert E. Lee) leading the way at 10. She pushed her career total to 302 assists, just the 14th Duke in JMU history to eclipse 300 career assists, and is now tied for 11th most all-time with Tamera Young (JMU ’08) and Lesley Dickinson (JMU ’07).

Northeastern was limited to 38.3 percent shooting from the field (23-60), including shooting 26.7 percent (4-15) from 3-point range. The Huskies were led by Samantha DeFreese, who scored a game-high 20 points, and A’lece Mark, who dropped 17 points.

The Dukes opened the game on a 9-0 run, keeping the Huskies scoreless over the first 3:26 of play. JMU pushed its lead to as many as 18 twice, the last coming with 35 seconds left in the stanza after a 6-0 run, all from Giggetts. An ensuing NEU jumper made it a 16-point advantage (43-27) in favor of JMU heading into halftime.

The Huskies got no closer than 14 points in the second half. Madison led by as many as 24 points with 3:59 remaining in the game before NEU used a 9-2 run to close the gap back to 17. JMU scored seven of the final nine points, including junior forward Destiny Jones’ (Miramar, Fla./Archbishop McCarthy) first career 3-pointer with 23 seconds to play to cap the game.

Okafor led the first half with 12 points to lead all scorers, followed by Giggetts with eight points. As a team, the Dukes shot 47.4 percent (18-38) from floor including a 50 percent clip (5-10) from range. They tallied 13 assists on their 18 made baskets, led by four from Mickens. Junior guard Precious Hall (Tallahassee, Fla./Maclay School) and Gwathmey each added three assists in the first half.

JMU held the turnover edge in the first stanza, giving the ball away just three times compared to NEU’s eight giveaways, and used the disparity to hold a 10-3 edge in points off turnovers. The Dukes also led in second-chance points, 8-0, with a 6-3 edge in offensive rebounds. They finished the day with a 17-7 edge in points off turnovers (13-11) and a 14-0 advantage in second-chance points.

Madison blocked five shots in the game, with two each from Giggetts and Okafor and one from Gwathmey. Okafor’s pair of blocks gives her 113 career blocked shots, tied for fifth most in JMU history. Gwathmey has 104 career blocks, eighth most in JMU history.

CAA play continues for the Dukes with a trip to William and Mary on Sunday, January 11. Tip-off for game two of three on the road takes place at 2 p.m. at Kaplan Arena in Williamsburg, Virginia.