JMU women’s basketball’s defense stifles St. Bonaventure in 76-43 win

jmu logoJunior guard Precious Hall (Tallahassee, Fla./Maclay School) scored a game-high 19 points and James Madison’s defense swarmed St. Bonaventure from start to finish in a 76-43 non-conference women’s basketball victory Sunday afternoon at the JMU Convocation Center.

All 10 players who took the court scored for the Dukes, who improved to 2-0 with their 12th straight win at home while the Bonnies fell to 1-1 on the young season.

Hall paced the JMU offense on 6-of-14 shooting, to go with five rebounds and four assists. She also converted all six of her free-throw attempts and has now made 25 consecutive shots from the line, dating back to March 23, 2014, when the Dukes upset Gonzaga in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. That mark ranks seventh in program history.

Two other players scored in double figures, as senior forward Toia Giggetts (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor) recorded 12 points and eight rebounds and junior guard Angela Mickens (Staunton, Va./Robert E. Lee) had 11 points, tying her career high, and a game-best five assists. Giggetts extended her streak of games with at least 10 points to 28 straight, which ranks tied for second in JMU history with former Duke Tamera Young (2004-08).

The offense was fairly balanced, with three other players tallying at least eight points. Redshirt-senior center Lauren Okafor (Hamden, Conn./Hopkins School (Providence)) just missed a double-double with eight points and a game-high 14 rebounds and two others corralled at least seven rebounds.

After struggling from the floor in the first half, the Dukes turned it around, shooting 51.5 percent (17-33) in the second half to finish 41.9 percent (26-62) for the game. They were also strong from the charity stripe, knocking down 20-of-24 attempts (83.3%). JMU dominated the glass, 53-27, which included an 18-8 advantage on the offensive end. Madison outscored SBU 23-4 on second-chance opportunities and 10-2 in transition while the JMU reserves outdid SBU’s bench players 19-8.

Nyla Rueter led the Bonnies with 11 points while Katie Healy contributed 10 points in the defeat. SBU was limited to 23.6 percent (13-55) shooting, which included the Bonnies making just five shots in the opening half. They went scoreless from beyond the arc, missing all 12 3-point attempts but did cash in on 81 percent (17-21) of their free-throw tries.

The game began slow for both offenses but with JMU leading 9-8, it scored six straight points in 2:36 to grab a 15-8 advantage with a little less than nine minutes left. St. Bonaventure cut it back to three with a 4-0 mini-run but the Dukes responded with 10 of the game’s next 14 points, six coming from Hall, to give them a 24-14 halftime lead.

The second half was all JMU as it opened the stanza with a 14-2 run to break the game wide open. SBU was held to only one basket over the first eight minutes of the second while JMU started off hot, making five of its first seven shots from the floor and all four free throws to take a 38-16 lead. The Bonnies never drew closer than 18 the rest of the way while the Dukes led by as many 35 down the stretch.

JMU returns to action Thursday, Nov. 20 when it travels up the nation’s capital for its first road game of the year at American. Tipoff from Bender Arena is set for 7 p.m.


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