James Madison women’s basketball clinches career win No. 302 for Head Coach Kenny Brooks with a 79-64 win at Towson on Thursday afternoon, tying Brooks for all-time wins at JMU with former Head Coach Shelia Moorman.
The Dukes, now 21-2 overall and 12-0 in Colonial Athletic Association play, saw five scorers in double figures for the first time since the season opener against then-No. 23/23 UCLA. Redshirt-senior center Lauren Okafor, senior forward Toia Giggetts, redshirt-junior guard Jazmon Gwathmey and junior point guard Angela Mickens each posted 15 points while junior guard Precious Hall tallied 11 points in the win.
Mickens went a perfect 5-of-5 from the floor with a 5-of-8 showing from the free throw line for her 15 points. She added 12 assists for her second point-assist double-double of her career, pushing her season total to 179, fourth most in JMU history, and her career total to 371, ninth most in JMU history. This is her fifth double-figure assist game this season.
Towson was led by Dominique Johnson, who finished with 28 points. LaTorri Hines-Allen scored 16 points with a game-high tying eight rebounds.
As a team, JMU shot 48.4 percent from the floor (30-of-62) while limiting Towson to 39.0 percent shooting (23-of-59). The Dukes outscored the Tigers 44-18 in the paint as well as 14-9 off turnovers while Towson won the second-chance points battle 12-9.
Madison held a 41-33 rebounding advantage, led by Gwathmey’s game-high tying eight boards. Giggetts and Okafor each pulled down seven boards while Mickens corralled six. Mickens, Giggetts and Okafor also each blocked one shot in the contest. Okafor’s block was her 38th of the season, which is tied for 11th-most all-time in a JMU season.
The Dukes opened the contest on an 8-0 run, started by a feed from Mickens to a waiting Okafor under the basket before Giggetts found Okafor a possession later. On the third JMU possession, Mickens found a wide-open Giggetts for a layup before the point guard got in on the scoring, committing a steal and a fast break layup to give JMU an 8-0 lead.
The Tigers cut into the lead with back-to-back 3-pointers as a part of a 15-3 Towson run, taking a four-point lead (15-11) with 12:38 to play in the first half.
JMU, however, utilized a 13-2 run to take a seven-point lead (24-17) and would not trail again. Towson used a Johnson 3-pointer to pull within two possessions, but the Dukes countered with a 7-0 spurt, going up by double digits for the first time on the afternoon (31-20, 6:48 1H). The Tigers cut the JMU lead to single digits three more times before the Dukes closed the half on a 9-1 run.
The Dukes’ first lead of more than 11 points came at the 3:54 mark of the first half as Okafor denied Hines-Allen’s shot from down low and kept the ball in bounds with a rebound. Mickens ran the ball up court before finding Gwathmey waiting in the wings for a 3-pointer from the corner.
Towson, trailing by as many as 22 points in the early goings of the second half, closed the gap to 11 points four times, last at the 5:04 mark with the Dukes leading 67-56. JMU followed with a 10-0 run to keep the game out of reach and finished with a 15-point victory.
JMU returns home Sunday, February 15, for a rematch of last year’s CAA Championship Game. The Dukes face Delaware at 1 p.m. at the JMU Convocation Center and airs on the American Sports Network. Sunday is the second Duke Dog Reading game of the season, so high volume traffic is expected.