JMU women’s basketball clinches CAA regular-season title

jmu logoSenior guard Kirby Burkholder (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) collected her second consecutive double-double with 28 points and 11 rebounds to lead the James Madison women’s basketball team to a 78-47 win over Hofstra at the JMU Convocation Center in Harrisonburg, Va., Sunday.

With the win, JMU clinched the outright CAA Regular Championship with three games left to play. The Dukes have won 13 consecutive games to improve to 23-4 overall and 13-0 in the league. Hofstra dropped to 11-13 overall and 6-7 in conference action.

This is the second time the Dukes have won the CAA regular season title under head coach Kenny Brooks and the first since 2010-11.

For Burkholder, it was her ninth double-double of the season and the 23rd of her career. She added two blocks, two steals and an assist in 36 minutes on the afternoon. Sophomore guard Precious Hall (Tallahassee, Fla./Maclay School) chipped in 11 points, nine rebounds and three assists while junior forward Toia Giggetts (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor) had 11 points, three rebounds and two assists. For Giggetts it was her 18th consecutive double-digit performance.

Redshirt senior forward Nikki Newman (Harrisonburg, Va./Turner Ashby) tied her career-high with five blocks to lead JMU to 10 blocks as a team. The fifth-year Duke also led all players with six assists, against one turnover, scored nine points, grabbed eight rebounds and had two steals.

The Pride was paced by Annie Payton with 10 points, but she shot just 3-for-13 from the field, including 0-for-6 from 3-point range. Krystal Luciano contributed seven points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals while Alexis Carter had eight points and six rebounds.

The Dukes never trailed in the game, including scoring seven of the game’s first eight points. The Pride responded with a 7-1 run to even the game at 8-8 with 15:01 to play in the first half, but saw Madison hold them without a bucket for the next nine minutes, two seconds as JMU built a 32-17 advantage. Overall, JMU held the Pride to 16.7-percent (5-for-30) shooting in the opening stanza as it carried a 42-28 lead into the break.

The Dukes’ lead hung between 15-20 points for the first 10 minutes of the second half before they embarked on a 15-1 run over nearly six minutes of game time to push its lead out to 29. The HU deficit never got below 25 points the remainder of the game as JMU went on to win by 31.

For the game, JMU shot 35.8-percent from the field, including hitting 8 of its 27 (29.6-percent) from 3-point range. Hofstra shot 24.1-percent from the field and 14.3-percent from three. The Dukes pulled in 57 rebounds to the Pride’s 39, including a 19-8 Madison advantage on the offensive boards.

JMU outscored Hofstra 26-18 in the paint and 10-4 in fast break points. The Dukes’ 19 offensive boards led to a 14-7 advantage in second-chance points. JMU dished out 17 assists on its 24 made buckets while holding Hofstra to eight assists on 14 buckets.

JMU returns to action on Thursday, Feb. 27 in Charleston, S.C., as it takes on the College of Charleston in an 11:30 a.m.game at TD Arena.

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Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.


The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, 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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