Dukes hold off Western Michigan to take Invitational

Tourney MVP Evans leads JMU with 28 points

Staff Report
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Junior guard Dawn Evans (Clarksville, Tenn./Northeast) scored a game-high 28 points and handed out nine assists to lead No. 25 James Madison (10-1) to a 74-65 win over Western Michigan (5-8) in the championship game of the JMU Invitational Women’s Basketball Tournament Wednesday evening at the JMU Convocation Center.

In the consolation game, North Carolina Asheville (4-8) beat Lafayette (2-11) 50-43. 

Evans, who was named the tournament most valuable player, was joined on the all-tournament team by junior center Lauren Jimenez (North Bergen, N.J./North Bergen) and freshman guard Tarik Hislop (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch). Jimenez, playing in only her second game after being sidelined with an injury since last February, scored a career-high 21 points. Hislop tallied 11 points.

In the opening half, JMU scored 13 unanswered points in a span of 4:49 to expand a four-point (16-12) lead to 17, 29-12, with 6:01 left. Evans hit two three-pointers and two foul shots and Jimenez scored four points on layups in the run.

The Dukes led by as many as 21 (37-16 at 1:51) in the first period, when Western Michigan connected on only 13 percent (4-30) of its field-goal tries.

JMU was ahead by as many as 23, 63-40, with 10:12 remaining in the game. However, the Broncos then outscored the Dukes 17-2 over a span of 5:25 to close to within eight, 65-57, with 3:13 to play. In the stretch Western Michigan was eight-for-eight at the foul line, with junior forward Kemmy Dominique (Miami, Fla./Miami Jackson) connecting on four free throws and junior forward Ebony Cleary (Detroit, Mich./Martin Luther King) and sophomore forward Miame Giden (Broadview, Ill./Proviso East) each hitting two. Giden also knocked down a three-pointer and Cleary had a layup and a jumper during the run.

The Dukes responded by scoring seven straight points to push their lead to 15, 72-57, with 1:36 left, and put the game out of reach. The stretch began with a three-point play by Hislop at 2:55 and finished with back-to-back layups by Evans at 1:52 and 1:36.

Giden finished with a double-double with 24 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, and Cleary added 14 points. Both were named to the all-tournament team.

In the consolation game, UNC Asheville held Lafayette to a single field goal over a span of nearly six minutes in the first half while building a 12-point lead, 22-10, with 5:32 left. Lafayette connected on only one of four attempts from the field and turned the ball over four times while UNCA outscored the Leopards 13-2 during the stretch.

Lafayette got within nine (28-19) at halftime and was able to close within six, 47-41, with 1:56 left in the game. But the Leopards missed their next five attempts, the last four from three-point range, and were unable to get any closer.

UNCA junior forward Lindsey Montgomery (Shelby, N.C./Shelby) led all players with a double double, as she scored 14 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. The only Bulldog to score in double figures, she also earned all-tournament recognition.

Lafayette junior guard/forward LaKeisha Wright (Upper Marlboro, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt) was the Leopards’ only player to score in double figures. She also finished with a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

  

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