Delaware nips JMU, 61-60

jmu logoThe JMU women’s basketball team came within a point of #18 Delaware, but the Dukes fell 61-60 in Colonial Athletic Association action in front of a record crowd Sunday at the Bob Carpenter Center.

The Dukes, who quieted the sellout crowd of 5,098 with every basket, now have an 18-9 overall record and are 13-3 in league play.  The loss ended JMU’s winning streak at three games, and it was the first road CAA loss for the Dukes this season (7-1).

Delaware, playing in front of a crowd that set a Carpenter Center women’s basketball attendance record, improved its overall record to 24-3 and its league-leading CAA mark to 15-0.  The Blue Hens have now won 36 straight games against CAA opponents, with Delaware’s last loss to a league team coming to JMU in the 2011 CAA championship game.

Blue Hens senior forward/guard Elena Delle Donne (Wilmington, Del./Ursuline Academy) led all players with 28 points, and the national player of the year candidate was the only Delaware player to score in double figures.

Four Dukes hit double figures, led by senior guard Tarik Hislop (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch) with 17 points.  Junior guard Kirby Burkholder (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) had her seventh double-double of the season with 16 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

Sophomore forward Toia Giggetts (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor) finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds, and freshman guard Precious Hall (Tallahassee, Fla./Maclay) also scored 10.

There were eight ties and nine lead changes in the first 27:30.

JMU led 41-39 after a Burkholder 3-pointer with 14:07 to play.  However, Delaware scored the game’s next seven points and took a lead it would not relinquish at 46-41 with 12:02 on the clock.  The Blue Hens pushed ther advantage to seven, 60-53, on two Delle Donne free throws with a minute remaining.

The Dukes closed the gap to two, 60-58, after Burkholder knocked down both ends of a 1+1 free throw at 46.8 seconds and Hislop banked in a 3-pointer at 24.7 seconds.

Fouled with 15.2 seconds left, Delle Donne made the first of two free throws to give the Blue Hens the game’s deciding point and a 61-58 lead.  JMU got its final points on a layup by Hall with 0.4 seconds on the clock.

There were six lead changes and five ties in the opening half, and JMU held the largest lead of the period, 29-21, with 50.6 seconds remaining.  Delle Donne scored four points in the final 39.2, two on free throws and two more on a layup with 9.3 seconds left, to pull the Blue Hens within four, 29-25, at halftime.

JMU’s eight point first-half lead came after Delaware had taken its largest lead of the half, 19-15, at 7:50.  The Dukes outscored the Blue Hens 14-2 over a span of just under five minutes.  JMU tallied 10 straight points to complete the stretch.  Burkholder scored five and Hislop and redshirt senior forward Kanita Shepherd (Garner, N.C./Garner Magnet) had four apiece in the run.

The Dukes out-rebounded Delaware 55-35 and had a 30-11 advantage in offensive rebounds.  JMU took 26 more shots (77-51) than the Blue Hens, but shot only 31 percent (24-77) from the floor while Delaware shot 37 percent (19-51).

Delaware entered the game averaging a 27-point advantage over CAA opponents in home games.

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