JMU women win NIT opener

jmu logoThe James Madison women’s basketball team outscored NorthCarolina A&T 30-8 in the final 12:29 to pull away to a 77-64 win in the first round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament Thursday night at the JMU Convocation Center.

The Dukes earned a second-round game against North Carolina State and will host the Wolfpack in a 2 p.m. contest on Sunday, March 24.  N.C. State topped Richmond 60-55 to advance to the second round.

JMU improved to 23-10, while North Carolina A&T finished its season at 22-10.

JMU junior guard Kirby Burkholder (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) scored a team-high 22 points and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds, and senior guard Tarik Hislop (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch) added 17 points and a season-high seven assists. Freshman guard Angela Mickens (Staunton, Va./Lee) came off the bench for career highs of 10 points, five rebounds and five steals.  Freshman guard Precious Hall (Tallahassee, Fla./Maclay) also finished with 10 points.

Game scoring honors went to Aggies redshirt junior guard Amber Calvin (Fayetteville, N.C./South View), who scored 25 points and tied the Convocation Center and JMU opponent records with a career-high seven 3-pointers. She hit 7-of-9 from 3-point range and 8-of-16 overall from the field.

Senior guard/forward JaQuayla Berry (Douglas, Ga./Coffee) was the only other Aggie in double figures with12 points.  Sophomore guard Adriana Nazario (Charleston, W.Va./George Washington) finished with a game-high eight assists.

The Aggies used a 17-6 scoring run to build an 18-10 lead with 10:58 to play in the opening half.  NCA&T led by as many as 13, 37-24, with 2:02 on the clock, before JMU was able to cut the lead to seven, 38-31, at the half.

Calvin nailed all three of her 3-point attempts in the opening half, when the Aggies hit 5-of-6 from behind the arc.

JMU opened the second half by outscoring the Aggies 10-4 to close within one, 42-41, on a Burkholder 3-pointer at 17:28.  Hall scored five points and Hislop had two points and an assist during the stretch.

Then a 9-5 NCA&T run, including a four-point play by Calvin on a 3-pointer and a free throw and a 3-pointer by Berry, pushed the Aggies lead to 56-47 at 12:49.

However, the Dukes held the Aggies scoreless over the next six minutes while scoring 12 points.  Mickens scored six of those 12, including the last two after blocking a 3-point attempt by Calvin, then racing down the court for a contested layup that gave JMU a 59-56 advantage with 6:48 to play.

After a 3-pointer by Calvin at 6:05 tied the game at 59, JMU outscored the Aggies 18-3 in the final 5:25 to secure the win.  Burkholder scored seven and Hislop added four points in that span.

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