James Madison women’s basketball downs UCLA, 77-67

The James Madison women’s basketball squad downed UCLA 77-67 in the quarterfinal round of the Gulf Coast Showcase at Germain Arena on Friday evening and earned a semifinal round match-up against Mississippi State.  The Dukes improved to 5-0 on the season while the Bruins dropped to 2-3 on the year.

Madison used a 17-4 run to open the first half and led by as many as 16 points with 8:04 to go in the first half, heading into the locker room with a 43-34 advantage.  The Bruins, however, bridged the halves on a 15-2 run to tie the Dukes at 45-all.

The teams traded baskets and went into the first media timeout (15:57) of the second half in a 47-47 tie game.  JMU went on a 13-1 run of its own and pushed its lead to 12 points (60-48) with 10:34 remaining in the game.  While UCLA pulled within four points of Madison over the next seven minutes, the Dukes held strong and finished with the 77-67 win.

The Dukes shot 47.5 percent from the floor for the game.  They were led by a 20-point performance from senior Kirby Burkholder (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) while sophomore Precious Hall (Tallahassee, Fla./Maclay School) dropped in 16 points of her own with five rebounds.  In her first start of the season, junior Toia Giggetts (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor) added 10 points to the board and four rebounds before foul trouble limited her minutes on the court.

The Bruins shot 40.4 percent from the floor and had four players in double digits, including Nirra Fields’ game-high 21 points.  Atonye Nyingifa posted 17 points, including a 7-of-9 performance from the free-throw line, while Thea Lemberger and Luiana Livulo each tallied 11 points.

Of the Dukes’ 77 points, 21 came off the bench compared to the Bruins’ zero points from non-starters.  Junior Crystal Ross (Philadelphia, Pa./Smyrna (Del.)) accounted for nine points, a team-high six rebounds and one block.  SophomoreDestiny Jones (Miramar, Fla./Archbishop McCarthy) came off the bench for eight points and three rebounds.

The Dukes outrebounded UCLA 41-34 and held a 31-22 advantage on the defensive glass.

JMU returns to the court on Saturday, Nov. 30 for the semifinal round of the Gulf Coast Showcase.  The Dukes face Mississippi State at 8:30 p.m. at Germain Arena in Estero, Fla.

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