|CAA Unbeaten JMU Cruises Past UNCW|
HARRISONBURG, Virginia – Colonial Athletic Association unbeaten James Madison raced out to a 39-14 halftime cushion and cruised to a 92-43 victory over visiting UNCW in women’s basketball action Friday night at the JMU Convocation Center.
The Dukes swept the regular season series from the Seahawks and won their 10th in a row to improve to 20-4 overall and a perfect 10-0 in the loop. The Seahawks now stand 3-22 and 2-9.
“James Madison is very good and I think they’ll represent our league in the post-season,” said second-year UNCW head coach Adell Harris. “We have a young team right now and this was more of an experience for our kids instead of trying to come out and being productive offensively or defensively. We just absorbed a lot of blows.”
Junior forward Toia Giggetts and sophomore guard Precious Hall paced six Dukes in double figures with 16 points apiece. Senior guard Kirby Burkholder added 15, while sophomore guard Jazmon Gwathmey, sophomore guard Angela Mickens and junior center Lauren Okafor chipped in 10 each.
Junior playmaker Kelva Atkins of UNCW tied for game scoring honors with 16 points. Freshman guard Brie Mobley also had 13 points for the Seahawks, who finish off a two-game swing to Virginia on Sunday with a 2 p.m. matchup against William & Mary at Kaplan Arena.
JMU, which defeated the visitors, 77-41, just 19 days ago at Trask Coliseum, put its depth and experience on display before a festive Valentine’s Day crowd at the JMU Convocation Center and broke away from the pesky Seahawks midway through the first half.
Giggetts and Hall helped the Dukes bolt out to a 39-14 lead at halftime as JMU held the Seahawks to 28 percent shooting and a season-low output of 14 points over the opening 20 minutes.
UNCW, behind Atkins and Mobley, traded buckets with the Dukes over the first eight minutes of the second half before JMU’s depth took its toll. Atkins scored on a reverse layup with 13:20 on the clock to cut the margin to 47-23, but JMU poured it on down the stretch and all 10 players in the lineup scored after intermission.
JMU built its largest lead of the game and the final score when reserve center Lauren Okafor scored on a layup with 56 seconds remaining.
Despite committing three turnovers on its first three possessions, UNCW hung tough with the Dukes early and trailed just 6-4 after a Giggetts layup with just over 17 minutes remaining.
UNCW was still behind, 15-10, when Mobley scored on the left elbow at 11:06 before the Dukes used a suffocating 22-2 run to bury the Seahawks. The rally included 14 unanswered points after the Seahawks had pulled within five points on Mobley’s jumper.
JMU then carried a 39-14 cushion into intermission when Nikki Newman connected on a layup in traffic to end the half. UNCW connected on just 7-of-25 field goals in the first stanza to fall behind the heavily favored Dukes.
GAME NOTES: UNCW shot 28 percent in the first half and 40.9 percent in the second period…The Seahawks committed 24 turnovers…JMU owned a 48-27 advantage on the glass…There were 36 personal fouls called in the contest, including 24 in the second half…The Dukes scored 54 points in the paint…UNCW had just four assists…Atkins and Mobley combined for 29 of UNCW’s 43 points…JMU outscored UNCW, 53-29, in the second half…The Seahawks never led in the contest…It was the sixth consecutive loss for the Seahawks…UNCW has four games remaining in the regular season…JMU now owns a 53-9 lead in the series and has won seven in a row against UNCW.