JMU women’s basketball picked as preseason favorite in CAA
The James Madison women’s basketball team was picked to repeat as the Colonial Athletic Association champions in 2015 according to a vote by the league’s head coaches, announced Tuesday at the annual CAA Basketball Media Day at the Center Club in Baltimore, Maryland. Junior guard Precious Hall (Tallahassee, Fla./Maclay School) highlighted the individual honors for the Dukes as she was selected as the Preseason Player of the Year in the same vote.
Hall was joined on the preseason All-CAA First Team by senior forward Toia Giggetts (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor). Redshirt-junior guard Jazmon Gwathmey (Bealeton, Va./Liberty H.S.) was named to the All-CAA Second Team.
The Dukes are coming off one of the most successful seasons in program history in 2013-14, having tied the school record with 29 wins and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. JMU knocked off sixth-seeded Gonzaga (72-63) in the first round, which was the first tournament win for Madison since 1991. The Dukes finished the year receiving votes in both major polls, including enough in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll to rank them 27th in the nation.
Head Coach Kenny Brooks, the 2014 CAA Coach of the Year, returns to the helm for his 13th season needing 19 wins for 300 in his career and 22 wins for 303, which would make him the all-time winningest coach in JMU women’s basketball history, surpassing Shelia Moorman (302). Over the last nine seasons, he has led the Dukes to at least 24 wins with three CAA Tournament titles.
Hall begins her junior campaign as the top returning scorer from 2013-14 after averaging 13.5 points per game. She posted a career-high 26 points against Northeastern on Feb. 7, 2014. Last season, Hall also added 3.8 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game en route to All-CAA Second Team honors. As a freshman, she was unanimously selected as the CAA Rookie of the Year.
Giggetts returns for her final season with the Dukes earning her first preseason all-conference accolade. She was an All-CAA Second Team honoree in 2013-14, averaging 13.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per outing. She begins this season with an active streak of 26 consecutive double-figure scoring performances and 879 career points.
Gwathmey ended the 2013-14 CAA slate on a high note, earning the CAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player award after posting a career-high 20 points and 14 rebounds in the championship game against Delaware. She blocked the most shots in a season by a sophomore last year (56), earning CAA All-Defensive Team accolades and ranks 10th overall on the JMU all-time blocks list (90).
Delaware was picked to finish second in the league, followed by Drexel, Hofstra and Towson to round out the top five. Newcomer Elon was selected to finish sixth ahead of Northeastern, William & Mary, Charleston and UNCW.
The league’s TV schedule was also announced on Tuesday. JMU hosts Delaware on the American Sports Network on Feb. 15 at 1 p.m.
Season tickets are currently on sale for the 2014-15 season and may be purchased online here. Single game tickets go on sale Nov. 1 for online-purchase only and Nov. 3 for purchase via phone (540-568-3853) or in person at the JMU Athletic Ticket Office.