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JMU women’s basketball suffers first CAA loss

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jmu logoThe JMU women’s basketball suffered its first loss in Colonial Athletic Association play, falling 85-78 to Charleston at TD Arena on Thursday morning.  The loss snapped the Dukes’ 13-game win-streak.

JMU now sits at 23-5 overall and 13-1 in CAA action.  The Cougars improved to 15-12, 8-6 in league play, and stretched their win streak to three games.

At halftime, JMU led Charleston 41-38 and was up by as many as nine points in the first half.  The Dukes led by as many as seven points twice in the second half before a 7-0 run by the Cougars made it a 55-55 tie with 12:48 left on the clock, the fourth knotted score of the afternoon.

With 5:50 left on the clock, Charleston went on a 5-0 run over 1:31 to take a 72-70 lead, the Cougars’ first lead of the second half.  Sophomore Precious Hall (Tallahassee, Fla./Maclay School) put up a jumper for the fifth tie of the game with 4:02 remaining, but an 8-0 run by Charleston secured the lead for good.

Senior Kirby Burkholder (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) dropped a team-high 25 points and moved into sole possession of seventh place on JMU’s career scoring chart (1,521).  Junior Toia Giggetts (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor) posted 18 points, her 19th-straight double-figure performance, and three blocks while Hall added 13 points and snagged a season-high five steals on the afternoon.  Redshirt sophomore Jazmon Gwathmey (Bealeton, Va./Liberty H.S.) tied a season-high 10 rebounds

The Cougars were led by Alyssa Frye’s 26 points, including six from the free-throw line over the final 1:42, followed by Afreyea Tolbert’s 19 points.  Mikaela Hopkins made it into double figures (12 points) with the first six points in Charleston’s 8-0 run for the lead.

Charleston shot 45.7 percent from the floor overall with a 51.6 shooting percentage in the second half.  JMU shot 36.4 percent for the game.  The Cougars held the advantage for points in the paint (38-30), points off turnovers (15-6) and second-chance points (18-11).  Charleston also held the rebounding advantage 48-46, just the third time this season Madison has not won the battle of the boards.

Burkholder also moved into third on the career rebound chart (855) with seven rebounds for the game.  Redshirt senior Nikki Newman (Harrisonburg, Va./Turner Ashby) also moved up the all-time rebounds chart, taking sole possession of fifth at 828 career boards.  She also moved into a tie for most games played with Tarik Hislop (JMU ’13), having competed in 140 games in her career.

On Sunday, March 2, JMU faces William & Mary at 2 p.m. in the final home game of the season.  The Dukes will attempt to set a JMU Convocation Center attendance record as they celebrate Senior Day as well as the final Duke Dog Reading Day for 2013-14.  Please arrive early and utilize the shuttle system for parking as heavy traffic is expected.

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