JMU women win WNIT opener
James Madison outscored Davidson 41-29 in the second half en route to a 65-49 win over the Wildcats in National Women’s Invitation Tournament first-round basketball action Thursday night at the JMU Convocation Center.
JMU advances to a second-round game against Wake Forest, a 72-61 winner over Charlotte Thursday. The Dukes host Wake at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 18.
JMU improved to 25-7 while Davidson completed its season with a 22-10 record.
Davidson junior forward Sophia Aleksandravicius (Pound Ridge, N.Y./Holy Child) was the game’s top scorer with 25 points and tied for gamerebounding honors with nine. The Southern Conference Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year was the only Wildcat to score in double figures.
Three JMU players scored in double digits, led by junior guard Tarik Hislop (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch), who scored 15 and had a game-high six assists. Redshirt senior forward Lauren Whitehurst (Chesapeake, Va./Indian River) added 14 points, 12 of them in the second half, and also had seven rebounds.
Sophomore guard Kirby Burkholder (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) scored 11 and had seven rebounds.
The Dukes’ rebounding leaders were freshman forward Toia Giggetts (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor) and junior forward Nikki Newman (Harrisonburg, Va./Turner Ashby) with nine apiece.
After Davidson took its first lead of the game, 29-28, with 14:15 left in the contest, the Dukes used a 19-7 run to take their first double-digit lead of the night. Whitehurst scored 10 of the Dukes’ points, including back-to-back layups off passes from Hislop. A Burkholder 3-pointer capped the run and put JMU up 47-36 with 5:48 to play.
The Wildcats had a cold shooting spell during the Dukes’ run, hitting only 3-for-14 from the floor and committing four turnovers in a span of nearly eight minutes.
Davidson, which trailed by as many as eight in the opening half (21-13 at 3:58), closed the half by outscoring JMU 7-3 to enter intermission down 24-20. Aleksandravicius started the run with a three-point play at 3:49 and then scored the Wildcats’ first seven points of the second half as Davidson opened the period by outscoring JMU 9-4 to gain a 29-28 advantage at 14:18.
“It was a battle, and that’s what you can expect this time of year,” said JMU head coach Kenny Brooks. “We’re fortunate to come away with a win and a chance to play another day.”
NOTE: Lauren Whitehurst, who had two blocked shots, set a JMU season record with 56 blocks. She entered the game sharing the record of 54 with Hollee Franklin, who set the previous mark in 2000-01.