JMU clinched the No. 1 seed in next month’s Colonial Athletic Association tournament with a 72-61 victory over Delaware at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, Del., Thursday evening.
The Dukes pushed their win streak to 12 games to remain undefeated in CAA play (12-0, 22-4) while the Blue Hens’ six-game win-streak was snapped as they fell to 9-4 in conference action and 17-7 overall. This is the first time since 2011 JMU has won two games over Delaware in the same season (2-0, including the CAA Championship game).
Senior guard Kirby Burkholder (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) led the Dukes with 19 points and 14 rebounds, her eighth double-double of the season. She moved into fourth on JMU’s career rebounds chart, up to 837 boards as a Duke, and into a tie for fourth all-time in double-figure rebound games (28).
Junior forward Toia Giggetts (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor) scored 16 points against the Blue Hens. Her 17th straight double-digit scoring performance moved her into a tie for ninth-longest in JMU history. Redshirt sophomore guard Jazmon Gwathmey (Bealeton, Va./Liberty H.S.) rounded out the Dukes’ double-digit scorers with 10 points. She also notched two blocks on the evening, giving her sole possession of ninth place on JMU’s career blocks list with 82 denials overall.
Delaware was led by Kelsey Buchanan who posted a game-high 20 points and four blocks. Joy Caracciolo joined her in double figures with 12 points while Hannah Jardine grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
After back-and-forth play left the game knotted at 11-all, the Dukes used a 7-0 run to push their lead out to 18-11 with just under 13 minutes to play in the first half. Delaware pulled to within three off a layup by Buchanan at the 8:50 mark (24-21), but JMU used an 11-0 run to take a 14 point lead, their largest of the first half. The Blue Hens sank the final two field goals of the first half, and the Dukes carried a 10-point lead (37-27) into the locker room.
Delaware cut the lead to seven points off a Buchanan jumper just over three minutes into the second stanza. The Dukes, however, responded with a 16-6 run to push their advantage to 17 points (55-38) with 11:53 remaining, their largest lead of the game. The Blue Hens closed the gap to as few as 10 points over the final 7:46, but key JMU stops down the stretch secured the 11-point victory.
JMU shot 38.6 percent from the floor, including 46.9 percent in the first half. Delaware shot 35.2 percent from the field, but the Dukes held them without a 3-pointer (0-6) for the duration of the game.
The Dukes head home for a Sunday-afternoon face-off with Hofstra at 2 p.m. They need one more win to secure sole possession of the CAA regular season championship.