Backed by a second double-double performance by senior Kirby Burkholder (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) in as many games, James Madison women’s basketball posted a 67-56 victory at Liberty at the Vine Center in Lynchburg, Va., Tuesday.
The Dukes improved to 2-0 on the season with back-to-back victories over in-state opponents. The Flames fell to 0-2 on the year and snapped their 10-game winning streak against in-state rivals.
Burkholder dropped 23 points (6-of-9) on the night and posted 13 rebounds. With her 22nd double-figure rebound game, she moved into a three-way tie for seventh-most all-time (Nadine Morgan, Katherine Johnson).
Redshirt sophomore Jazmon Gwathmey (Bealeton, Va./Liberty) tallied 12 points for the Dukes while redshirt senior Nikki Newman (Harrisonburg, Va./Turner Ashby) and sophomore Angela Mickens (Staunton, Va./Robert E. Lee) each notched seven points. Newman also contributed three steals for the Dukes, helping the Dukes score 23 points off 21 caused turnovers.
For the Flames, Ashley Rininger led with a team-high 20 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Sadalia Ellis also posted 15 points for Liberty. While the Flames forced 14 turnovers, they were only able to pick up four points off those situations.
On the glass, JMU outrebounded Liberty 42-37 overall after trailing in rebounds (21-20) at halftime. While both teams grabbed 26 defensive rebounds, the Dukes were able to pick up 16 offensive rebounds versus the Flames’ 11 offensive boards. JMU converted those second-chance opportunities into 22 points, and Liberty converted its into nine points.
There were nine lead changes and four tied scores during the first half; however, a Mickens’ jumper at the 4:30 mark of the first half gave the Dukes the lead for good. The Dukes held the Flames to just two field goals in the final 8:22 of the first half.
JMU came out of the locker room on an 8-1 run and, after trapping the Flames in the corner, caused Liberty to burn a timeout early in the half. While Liberty would close the gap to as few as four points, JMU held firm and pushed the lead to as many as 13 points with 3:19 remaining in the game.
The Dukes take a nine-day break before traveling to Richmond on Thursday, November 21 for a 7 p.m. tip.