WBB Preview: James Madison
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
WILMINGTON, North Carolina - The UNCW women’s basketball team travels to Harrisonburg, Va., Thursday for its lone regular-season matchup with James Madison as it faces the Dukes in 7 p.m. CAA contest at the JMU Convocation Center.
Thursday’s game will have major implications in the race for seeding for the upcoming 2012 Virginia 529 CAA Women’s Basketball Championship as the second-place Dukes (19-5; 10-3 CAA) hold a two-game lead over the fourth-place Seahawks (15-9; 8-5 CAA) with only five games remaining on the regular-season docket.
UNCW returns to the road after suffering a 59-57 setback to visiting Old Dominion on Sunday. The Seahawks were unable to post its first season sweep of the Lady Monarchs as it failed to convert three game-tying opportunities during the final 1:07 of the contest.
Sophomore guard Alisha Andrews paced UNCW with 20 points, including 17 in the final period, but was the only Seahawk to reach double figures on a day that saw UNCW shot just 37.5 percent from the floor. Junior forward Ayoola Weaver grabbed a game-high nine boards and junior guard Tawanna Lee collected six assists.
Andrews continues to pace the Seahawks lineup as leads the team in points (13.0), assists (4.7) and steals (3.0). She currently ranks in the top four in the league and the top 55 players nationally in both the steals (2nd/25th) and assists (4th/52nd). Sophomore Abria Trice’s recent play has moved her into second on the team’s scoring chart at 9.3 points per game while junior Tawanna Lee is just behind Trice in third at (9.1). Junior Karneshia Garrett remains the team’s top rebounding threat, averaging 7.0 caroms per contest, good for 10th in the league in that category.
Two-time defending CAA Tournament Champion JMU enters Thursday’s matchup looking to reach the 20-win plateau for the seventh straight season under veteran coach Kenny Brooks.
Junior guard Tarik Hislop, named the league’s Player-of-the-Week on Monday, stands among the league leaders in scoring (14.9/9th), assists (3.7/7th) and steals (1.8/10th). Junior Jasmine Gill (10.6) and sophomore Kirby Burkholder (10.4) provide scoring depth to the lineup while senior Lauren Whitehurst averages 7.5 rebounds per contest to pace a Dukes lineup that corrals a league-best 44.5 rebounds per game.
Thursday’s contest marks the 58th meeting between UNCW and James Madison in a series that dates back to the 1984-85 season and early days of the Colonial Athletic Association.
The Dukes hold a 48-9 advantage in the all-time series, but just a slim 3-2 edge over the last five meetings. The Dukes won last season’s lone matchup, 79-77, on March 2nd in the regular-season finale at the Convocation Center, a contest that determined the 2010-11 regular-season championship.
UNCW wraps up its two-game road swing through Virginia Sunday with a 2 p.m. matinee at William and Mary. The Seahawks will attempt to earn a season sweep of the Tribe after posting an 80-77 victory at home on Feb. 5.