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JMU women’s basketball tops Northeastern 82-47, clinches CAA regular-season title

jmu logoClosing the first half on an 18-6 run, the James Madison women’s basketball team pulled away from Northeastern in the second half to clinch the outright Colonial Athletic Association regular-season championship with an 82-47 victory Friday night at the JMU Convocation Center.

JMU improved to 24-3 overall and 15-1 in CAA play. The Huskies fell to 4-22 and 1-15 in league action. The defeat marks Northeastern’s 11th loss in a row and the 35-point win for the Dukes is the third-largest in conference play this season.

Trailing 19-18 with 7:41 to go in the first half, redshirt-junior guard Jazmon Gwathmey started JMU’s 18-6 run with back-to-back layups to get the Dukes off and running toward the break. Up by 11 at 36-25 at half, JMU came out of halftime and extended the lead to 20 with 12:47 to go at 52-32 before going up by as many as 36 at 80-44 with 1:24to play.

For the first time this season all 10 Dukes that played in the game got on the scoreboard. Gwathmey and junior guard Precious Hall led the way with 18 points apiece. Gwathmey shot 8-of-12 from the floor and 2-of-3 from long range while Hall missed a double-double by one rebound after tallying nine boards to go with five assists in the win. Redshirt-senior center Lauren Okafor notched 11 points and 12 rebounds for her 11th double-double of the season while junior guard Ashley Perez rounded out the double-figure scorers with 10 points.

Additionally, junior guard Angela Mickens tallied seven assists, giving her 203 on the season, which is good for the second-best total in a single season in JMU history. Her 395 career assists are eighth-best all-time.

Northeastern was led in scoring by junior forward Samantha DeFreese with 18 points. She was the only Husky to tally double figures, as Amencie Mercier was second on the team with nine points on 3-of-8 from the floor.

JMU scored 29 points off Northeastern’s 22 turnovers while the Huskies managed just eight points off JMU’s 13 turnovers. The Dukes won the rebounding margin handedly with a 41-26 advantage. Overall, the Dukes shot 51 percent (32-of-63) from the floor and 38 percent on 3-pointers (8-of-21), opposed to the Huskies’ 37 percent (18-of-49) shooting and 20 percent 3-point shooting (3-of-15).

The Dukes finished with the advantage in fastbreak points, points in the paint and bench points, as JMU outscored the Huskies 9-0 in transition, 36-18 in the paint while getting 22 points off the bench to Northeastern’s eight.

JMU goes on the road for the final time of the 2014-15 regular season Sunday, March 1, when it takes on Delaware. First tip is set for 1 p.m. in Newark. The Dukes topped Delaware earlier this month 94-64 when Head Coach Kenny Brooks picked up program-record 303rd win.