Key free throws down the stretch helped James Madison women’s basketball grind out a 69-62 victory at Ohio University on Monday night. The Dukes improved to 8-1 on the season with the win while the Bobcats fell to 6-2 overall.
As the Bobcats cut the Dukes lead to just one at 63-62 with 1:12 left on the clock, senior forward Toia Giggetts (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor) used a step back jumper to put JMU ahead by three at 65-62 with less than a minute to play. With key defensive stops by the Dukes, the Bobcats sent redshirt-junior guard Jazmon Gwathmey(Bealeton, Va./Liberty H.S.) and Giggetts to the free throw line to secure the win.
Junior guard Precious Hall (Tallahassee, Fla./Maclay School) led the way for JMU with 23 points while redshirt-senior center Lauren Okafor (Hamden, Conn./Hopkins School (Providence)) notched the lone JMU double-double with 13 points and 18 rebounds. Her 18 boards are just one shy of her career-high 19 rebounds, which was set earlier this season on Nov. 23 against Pittsburgh.
After trailing 13-9 in the early goings, JMU used a 17-6 run to take the lead for good and led by as many as 17 points at 50-33 with 11:56 left in the second half. Ohio, however, held the Dukes without a field goal over the next 5:40 stretch to shrink the JMU lead to 10 points. A 12-4 Ohio run cut the JMU lead to two at 60-58 with 3:06 to play after Kiyanna Black knocked down a three-pointer.
Junior guard Ashley Perez (Manchester, Conn./Manchester (St. John’s)) tallied nine points and seven rebounds over 26 minutes in her debut with the Dukes. Giggetts also finished with nine points and six rebounds.
Trips to the charity stripe played a huge role in the game as JMU went to the line 26 times, sinking 21 attempts on 23 fouls by Ohio. The Bobcats went the line 14 times, making 10 shots on 17 fouls by the Dukes.
Overall, JMU shot 33.3 percent from the floor with a 30.0 percent mark from 3-point range while Ohio shot 39.0 percent from the field and 26.1 percent from beyond the arc. The Dukes limited the Bobcats from long range to a clip well below their average, as Ohio was shooting 38.8 percent from beyond the arc leading into the game.
JMU returns home next time out for its final game before the holidays with a contest against Hampton. Tip is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 20, at the JMU Convocation Center.