Locked in a tight battle Sunday afternoon at the JMU Convocation Center, the James Madison women’s basketball team pulled away from Drexel in the second half to complete a 66-51 victory over the Dragons to remain perfect in Colonial Athletic Association play.
In front of 5,009 spectators, which is the ninth-largest home crowd for a women’s basketball game at the Convo, the Dukes improved to 15-2 overall and 6-0 against CAA opponents, extending their current winning streak to a season-high six games. The Dragons, who were tied for second in the conference coming into the contest, fell to 10-7 overall and 4-2 in the CAA.
Junior guard Precious Hall (Tallahassee, Fla./Maclay School) led the Dukes with 22 points while shooting 44 percent (8-of-18) from the field and 30 percent (3-of-10) from 3-point range. Hall added 4 rebounds and 3 assists to complete a well-rounded game in which she scored 13 of Madison’s first 20 points of the contest.
Redshirt-senior center Lauren Okafor (Hamden, Conn./Hopkins School(Providence)) was a perfect 7-of-7 from the floor, dropping 17 points in the Dukes’ winning effort. Senior Toia Giggetts (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor) extended her career rebound mark to 694 career rebounds with six in 31 minutes of action, good enough to pull into a tie for 14th all time.
As a team, the Dukes shot 48.1 percent (25-of-52) from the floor, including 26.3 percent (5-of-19) from behind the arc and 61.1 percent (11-of-18) from the charity stripe. In contrast, Drexel shot 31.7 percent (20-of-63) from the field with a 28.6 percent (4-of-14) clip from long range and 63.6 percent (7-of-11) from the foul line. The Dragons managed to win the rebounding battle by a slim 40 to 38 margin despite six Dukes collecting at least four boards. This marks only the second time all season that James Madison has failed to grab 42 rebounds and is only the third time throughout the 2014-15 season the Dukes have been outrebounded in a contest.
Drexel was led by Rachel Pearson, the team’s lone double-digit scorer, who dropped 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the floor. Carrie Alexander scored eight points in the first half to lead the team, but failed to score in the second half. Of the nine players who saw action for Drexel, seven scored at least five points.
The Dragons came out firing in the second half, cutting the Dukes’ 10-point halftime lead to four with 13:57remaining thanks to a 9-2 run. JMU used a 10-2 run of their own to stretch the lead to 46-36 and put the advantage back to double figures with 12:05 to play.
Drexel ended the game making two of their final 10 attempts from the floor, failing to capitalize on four JMU turnovers in the final 3:38.
JMU returns to action Thursday, Jan. 22, as the Dukes welcome William & Mary for a 7 p.m. contest. The Tribe has struggled this season, holding a 7-10 overall record and a 1-5 record in conference play despite winning at Delaware by the final score of 50-48 on Sunday afternoon. The victory ended a seven-game losing skid for William & Mary.