JMU women advance to tournament title game

No. 25 Dukes will play Western Michigan in JMU Invitational

Staff Report
JMU sports: www.jmusports.com

No. 25 James Madison (9-1) defeated Lafayette (2-10) 86-54 and Western Michigan (5-7) downed North Carolina Asheville (3-8) 60-53 in the opening round of the JMU Invitational Women’s Basketball Tournament Tuesday evening at the JMU Convocation Center.

JMU and Western Michigan will meet for the tournament championship at 7 p.m. Wednesday, while Lafayette and UNC Asheville will play in the consolation game at 5 p.m.

In the win over Lafayette, JMU junior guard Dawn Evans (Clarksville, Tenn./Northeast) had game highs of 27 points and 12 assists. She recorded her third career points-assist double-double, and her assist total was a career high. Evans also increased her career points total to 1,392 and moved from tied for 10th to ninth place on JMU’s all-time scoring list.

JMU freshman guard Tarik Hislop (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch) added 15 points, and junior forward Nichelle Glover (Jacksonville, Fla./Wolfson) finished with 11 points and a game-high seven rebounds.

Lafayette was led by junior guard Lauren Jackson (Argyle, Texas/Liberty Christian) with 17 points. Junior guard/forward LaKeisha Wright (Upper Marlboro, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt) scored 11, and sophomore guard Melissa Downey (Havertown, Pa./Cardinal O’Hara) finished with career highs of 10 points and eight assists.

There were five ties and three lead changes in the first 10:31 before JMU outscored Lafayette 11-2 to build a seven-point (26-19) lead with 6:23 remaining. Redshirt senior guard Sarah Williams (Wilmington, Del./Ursuline Academy opened the run with a three-pointer at 9:28, then after Lafayette turned the ball over on a shot-clock violation, Evans knocked down a 17-footer at 8:39.

Lafayette junior forward Elizabeth Virgin (Novato, Calif./Marin Catholic) converted two free throws at 8:19, then the Dukes scored six unanswered points. Evans made a steal and scored on an uncontested layup at 7:29. Then after freshman forward Nikki Newman (Harrisonburg, Va./Turner Ashby) blocked an attempt by Lafayette’s Downey, Glover hit a short jumper at 6:51 off a pass from Hislop. After another Lafayette turnover, Hislop’s 15-foot jumper gave the Dukes the 26-19 advantage.

But the Leopards used a 9-3 run to get within one, 29-28, with 4:26 left. Jackson connected on two three-pointers to open the scoring stretch.

However, JMU closed the half by outscoring Lafayette 9-4 in the final 3:30, to take a 40-32 lead into intermission. The Dukes continued to pull away in the second half, leading by 20 (57-37) with 13:50 to go, and were never seriously threatened.

In the day’s opening game, Western Michigan used a 16-2 run late in the first half to pull away from UNC Asheville.

The Broncs hit all four of their first-half three-pointers in the stretch, which began with Western Michigan trailing 18-16.

A three-pointer by Broncs’ senior guard Molly Dwyer (Sterling Heights, Mich./Stevenson) with 5:00 on the clock started a run of 11 unanswered points that included two threes by junior forward Kemmy Dominique (Miami, Fla./Jackson) and a layup by junior forward Ebony Cleary (Detroit, Mich./Martin Luther King).

After a jumper by UNCA redshirt junior forward Kiana Rainey (Fountain Inn, S.C./Hillcrest) at 2:02, Dominique nailed another three and senior forward Jenny Loney (Frankfort, Mich./Frankfort) scored on a layup to put Western Michigan ahead 32-20 with 34 seconds left.

UNCA hit only one of six field-goal tries and committed six turnovers during the Western Michigan run.

WMU led 34-23 at halftime and was up by as many as 15 in the second half (the last time 47-32 at 11:57). UNCA was able to get as close as seven points on two occasions, including 60-53 with 1:56 to play, but no closer.

Cleary finished with 20 points, one below her career-high. Dominque, who scored 13 points in the first half, scored 17 points, just two away from her career high of 19. Also in double figures was sophomore forward Miame Giden (Broadview, Ill./Proviso East), who scored 11 and led her team with seven rebounds.

UNCA redshirt freshman forward Kelli Riles (Ellenwood, Ga./Redan) led the Bulldogs with 11 points, and redshirt freshman forward Kelli Riles (Ellenwood, Ga./Redan) just missed a double-double with nine points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

  

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