JMU women’s basketball rallies, still falls to Hofstra

jmu logoTrailing by 17 points with 12:43 to play in the game, the No. 23/21 James Madison women’s basketball team went on a furious run to tie the game 59-59 against Hofstra at the JMU Convocation Center with 1:15 to play, but a 4-0 showing at the free throw line by the Pride cut the JMU comeback loss just short as the Dukes fell 63-62 on Sunday afternoon.

The loss drops JMU to 23-3 and 14-1 in Colonial Athletic Association action. The defeat snaps the Dukes’ 14-game overall winning streak and run of 21 straight wins at home. Hofstra improves to 18-9 with the win and goes to 11-5 in CAA play.

With Hofstra playing lockdown defense down low, JMU Head Coach Kenny Brooks elected to turn to five guards on the floor with 13:10 to go in the game. After a layup by Hofstra’s Ashunae Durant with 12:43 to play, JMU went on a 16-4 run over the next 6:11 of game action to cut the Hofstra lead to just five points at 55-50 with 6:32 to play.

Trailing 59-52 with 4:23 left on the clock, the Dukes went on a 7-0 run that was capped by a jumper from redshirt-junior guard Jazmon Gwathmey to tie the game at 59-59 with 1:15 to play. Coming back down the floor, Hofstra’s Anjie White was fouled and knocked down two free throws to put the Pride back on top by two at 61-59 with 40 seconds remaining.

Down by two with the ball, junior guard Precious Hall was fouled out of a timeout with 14 seconds to go and went to the line for two free throws. After hitting the first shot, Hall missed the second and after chasing down the rebound, Hofstra’s Krystal Luciano came away with the board and forced JMU to foul, sending Durant to the charity stripe.

After Durant knocked down both free throws to go up 63-60, Hall got a look from range, but her shot rimmed out. Though sophomore forward Da’Lishia Griffin powered home the rebound to cut the lead to one at 63-62, not enough time remained on the clock to foul or try to force a turnover.

Hall led the way for the Dukes with a game-high 26 points, despite shooting 8-of-26 from the floor. Gwathmey notched 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting while junior point guard Angela Mickens rounded out the double-figure scorers with 10 points.

Hofstra forward Anjie White led the Pride in scoring with 13 points. Junior Darius Faulk led the team in both rebounding and assists with eight in both categories.

JMU scored the first bucket of the game on a short jumper from Gwathmey and held a five-point lead through the first eight minutes of the game, but Hofstra’s defensive effort brought the contest to a 17-17 tie at the 11-minute mark. The Pride then went on to continue their run, outscoring the Dukes 13-5 and led by 8 points with 5:34 to go in the first half and would not trail again. Despite baskets from Mickens and junior guard Ashley Perez that cut the lead to as little as two in the first half at 34-32 (2:30 1H), the Dukes ended the first 20 minutes down 38-32. The deficit marked the first time JMU had trailed at halftime since beating Towson 67-66 on Jan. 4 to open conference play.

As a team, JMU shot 32.9 percent (23-of-70) while only shooting 15.4 percent (2-of-13) from long range. Hofstra shot 42.6 percent (23-of-54) overall, including 50.0 percent (14-of-28) in the first half before the Dukes held the Pride to just 34.6 percent (9-of-26) in the second half. A factor down the stretch was free throw shooting, as Hofstra hit 13 of its 14 free shots while JMU knocked down 14 of 20.

The Dukes committed 13 total turnovers in the contest, seven of them occurring in the first half, to help Hofstra gain the early lead. The Pride committed 20 turnovers, 13 of which came in the second half during JMU’s comeback attempt.

The Dukes return to action Friday, Feb. 27 for a contest against Northeastern. Tip-off at the Convo is set for 7 p.m.


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