JMU women’s basketball ranked #23 in USA Today Coaches Poll
JMU opened the year with a regular season 91-87 overtime win over then-No. 23 UCLA at the JMU Convocation Center. The win marked the Dukes’ first victory over a ranked opponent since 2009 when they defeated then-No.14/15 Virginia 75-73 on the road. It also marked the 17th come-from-behind victory for JMU under the guidance of Head Coach Kenny Brooks as the Dukes rallied from a 14-point deficit for the win.
The Dukes wrapped up the opening weekend with a 76-43 win against St. Bonaventure, which went 24-11 overall (11-5 A10) last year and finished second during the Atlantic 10 Conference regular season, at home on Sunday, Nov. 16.
Madison received votes in the 2014-15 preseason USA Today Coaches Poll as well as the last seven editions of the 2013-14 poll. JMU was last in the USA Today Coaches Poll Top 25 on Dec. 28, 2009, when the Dukes were ranked No. 25 for the third straight week that season.
JMU received 15 points in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll, the 28th highest total in the nation. Graham Hays also recognized the Dukes as his Team of the Week in his weekend wrap up.
Redshirt-senior center Lauren Okafor (Hamden, Conn./Hopkins School (Providence)) earned the first Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week honors of the season for JMU, averaging a double-double for the weekend (12.0 ppg, 15.0 rpg). She boasted a career day against the Bruins, dropping a career-high tying 16 points and snagging a career high 16 rebounds.
Including Okafor, all five JMU starters averaged double-digit scoring coming out of the weekend. Junior guard Precious Hall (Tallahassee, Fla./Maclay School) led the Dukes with 22.0 points per game over the first two games of the season. She also pushed her consecutive made free throw streak to 25, the longest of her career.
Senior forward Toia Giggetts (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor) posted a 14.0 point per game average as she increased her consecutive double-digit scoring streak to 28 (tied for second longest in JMU history with Tamera Young). Redshirt-junior guard Jazmon Gwathmey (Bealeton, Va./Liberty H.S.) and junior guard Angela Mickens (Staunton, Va./Robert E. Lee) rounded out the top scoring with 11.0 points and 10.0 points per game, respectively.
No. 23 James Madison heads to American on Thursday, Nov. 20 for its first road game of the young season. Action tips off at 7 p.m. at Bender Arena in Washington, D.C. The Dukes return home on Sunday, Nov. 23, for a 2 p.m. game against Pittsburgh at the JMU Convocation Center. Tickets are available for purchase HERE.
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