JMU women’s basketball unveils 2015-2016 non-conference schedule

jmu-logo-newJames Madison women’s basketball unveiled a challenging non-conference slate for the 2015-16 season on Friday, including three teams with appearances in the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

“We wanted to challenge this particular group,” Head Coach Kenny Brooks said. “We have five seniors coming back, three of them very decorated as far as accolades are concerned, and we wanted to challenge them. I think we did a good job of going out and finding really good opponents. Some of them are well known, some of them you might not have heard as much, but they all have a lot of credibility in the women’s basketball world because they are top tier in their leagues.”

The reigning Colonial Athletic Association champions open the season with back-to-back home games against Longwood (Nov. 15) and Morgan State (Nov. 17).

The first road trip of the season comes on Nov. 20 as the Dukes head across the country to face UCLA. JMU opened the 2014-15 season with a home win over UCLA, defeating the 23rd-ranked Bruins 91-87 in overtime.

JMU returns to the Convocation Center on Nov. 23 to take on Liberty before closing out November on the road at Hampton (Nov. 29). To open December, American visits Harrisonburg for a showdown with the Dukes on Dec. 5. Both Liberty and American made appearances in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, with the Flames appearing in the Chapel Hill Regional alongside the Dukes.

The Dukes begin a four-game road swing with a stop at St. Bonaventure on Dec. 7 and follow with a quick swing to Richmond on Dec. 13.

The second half of their travels takes the Dukes south to the Florida Sunshine Classic in Orlando, Fla. JMU opens its tournament experience against West Virginia on Dec. 20 and wraps up the road trip against Baylor on Dec. 21. The Bears advanced to the Elite Eight of last year’s NCAA tournament as a number two seed, falling to eventual national runner-up Notre Dame 77-68. Baylor has won two national championships (2005, 2010) in its storied history and appeared in three Final Fours.

“It was definitely the competition that lured us to Orlando,” Brooks stated. “To be able to play national powers such as Baylor and West Virginia and to have them on a neutral court is all we can ask for. It’s going to test us, and it is really going to prepare us as we get closer and closer to conference play. Just to be able to play national powers on a neutral floor is a wonderful opportunity for us.”

JMU wraps up the non-conference schedule on Dec. 30 at home against Davidson.

Madison is coming off a stellar 2014-15 campaign in which the Dukes set a school record for regular-season wins (26) as well as regular-season CAA wins (17). They tied the school record for total wins with 29. JMU became just the third program in NCAA Division I history to reach the 1,000-win mark as a program (1,018), and Brooks became the all-time winningest coach in JMU women’s basketball history on Feb. 15 with win No. 303, which the Dukes pushed to 310 with their second consecutive CAA championship.

The Dukes return three starters from last year’s squad in 2015 CAA Player of the Year and Naismith Trophy Watch List selection Precious Hall, 2015 Lieberman Award finalist Angela Mickens and two-time CAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Jazmon Gwathmey. They are joined by fellow seniors Ashley Perez and Destiny Jones.

“JMU fans are going to see a very exciting brand of basketball this season,” Brooks added. “We have been exciting in the past, but when you bring back some of the best guards in the country, who have shown they can play with anyone, I think we are going to be even more up temp this season. We are going to be a little different than last year, but JMU nation is really going to enjoy watching this team play.”

Fans can get their first look at the 2015-16 squad on Nov. 8 when the Dukes host Davis & Elkins in an exhibition game.

Women’s basketball season tickets, both renewals and new sales, will be available in mid-August. Current season ticket holders can expect to receive their renewal by mail and email, and new sales will be available at JMUTickets.com or by calling 540-568-3853. For full information on women’s basketball pricing, click here<http://jmusports.com/sports/2014/6/16/Tkt_0616141011.aspx?path=tickets>.


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