JMU women loses in NIT quarters to Florida, 85-80

jmu logoFlorida won its fourth straight road game and James Madison lost for the first time in 17 home postseason games as the Gators topped the Dukes 85-80 in the Women’s National Invitation Basketball Tournament quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at the JMU Convocation Center.

The Gators (22-14) advance to the WNIT semifinals and will play the winner of Saturday night’s Drexel at Auburn game.
JMU’s season ended at 25-11.

JMU senior guard Tarik Hislop (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch) scored a team-high 26 points and had a game-high six assists.  She was joined in double figures by junior guard Kirby Burkholder (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) with 17 and freshman guard Precious Hall (Tallahassee, Fla./Maclay) with 11.  Burkholder also finished with a game-high five steals.

Redshirt freshman guard Jazmon Gwathmey (Bealeton, Va./Liberty) tied for game rebounding honors with nine, and Burkholder had eight rebounds.
Florida freshman guard /forward Sydney Moss (Union, Ky./Boone County) led all players with 27 points and had a team-high nine rebounds.  Also in double figures was junior guard Jaterra Bonds (Gainesville, Fla./P.K. Yonge) with 20; she also led the Gators with five assists.

The game was tight throughout, with 10 ties and 16 lead changes. The largest lead by either team was seven by Florida, on two occasions in the second half.
Florida used a 6-0 scoring run, with the first four points scored by Moss after JMU turnovers, to lead 66-59 with 9:27 to play.  But the Dukes scored the game’s next eight points, with a Hislop 3-pointer at 7:42 followed by a Hislop free throw at 7:26 put JMU on top 67-66.
Over the next five minutes the lead changed hands nine times and was tied three times.  The final lead change came when Florida freshman guard January Miller (Orlando, Fla./University) hit a jumper in the lane to put the Gators up 81-80 with 52.7 seconds to play.

After JMU failed to score on its possession, Bonds was fouled and made both foul shots with 23.4 seconds left for an 83-80 Florida lead.  Hislop missed a contested 3-pointer in front of the JMU bench with four seconds to play, and Bonds was fouled again and sank both attempts to put the game away.

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The book, with additional reporting by Scott Ratcliffe and Zach Pereles, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
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