|CAA-Leading Dukes Roll Past Seahawks|
WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Colonial Athletic Association frontrunner James Madison raced out to an 18-point lead at halftime and cruised down the stretch behind Jazmon Gwathmey’s career high 17 points to blitz UNCW, 77-41, in women’s basketball action Sunday at Trask Coliseum.
The Dukes led wire-to-wire to win their fifth straight game and push their record to 15-4 overall, including a perfect 5-0 in the CAA. The Seahawks had their two-game winning streak snapped and stand 3-17 and 2-4.
The 41 points represented a season-low in the scoring column for UNCW, which had scored 44 on two previous occasions at Wake Forest and Delaware.
Gwathmey, a redshirt sophomore guard from Bealeton, Va., anchored five JMU players in double figures with 17 points, eclipsing her career high set two games ago at Hofstra. Senior guard Kirby Burkholder and sophomore guard Precious Hall chipped in 13 points apiece while junior forward Toia Giggetts and freshman forward Da’Lishia Griffin added 10 each.
Junior point guard Kelva Atkins was the only player in double digits for the Seahawks with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the floor. A First-Team All-CAA pick, the Stem, N.C., product led the team in scoring for the 15th time this season.
After bolting out to a 39-21 lead at intermission, the Dukes poured it on early in the second half to douse any comeback hopes by the Seahawks and improve to 7-1 on the road.
Sparked by Gwathmey, JMU scored 14 of the first 17 points in the second half as the lead swelled to 53-24. Gwathmey bucketed eight points in the spurt and Griffin’s layup at 15:25 extended the Dukes’ lead to 53-23.
UNCW managed to slice the deficit to 55-32 on back-to-back buckets by freshman guard D’Asia Cain, but Burkholder, who was held to seven points in the first 20 minutes, answered with a triple on the right wing and the Dukes pulled away.
JMU, which leads the CAA in scoring offense and scoring margin, flexed its muscles early and shot 55.2 percent in the opening 20 minutes. Giggetts was the catalyst out of the gate and had six quick points in the first five minutes to help the Dukes get rolling. Griffin’s wide-open layup at the 11:33 mark gave JMU an 18-5 cushion.
The Dukes enjoyed their largest lead of the first half with just over five minutes remaining, 35-14, before the Seahawks reeled off six straight points to narrow the margin to 35-20. But JMU held UNCW without a field goal the remainder of the half and carried a 39-21 lead into the break.
The Seahawks shot just 28.8 percent on the day on 15-of-52 from the field and went 0-of-9 from long distance, marking the second consecutive game without a three-point field goal for the team. UNCW also had just three assists on 15 baskets.
JMU, meanwhile, featured five players in double figures for the second straight contest and has now won its five league games by an average of 20.2 points. The Dukes scored 44 of their 77 points in the paint.
3 – Kelva Atkins