JMU Tunes Up
Routs UNCW; Delaware Next
Posted: February 8, 2013
HARRISONBURG — Kenny Brooks could have gone all coach-speak and said his James Madison women’s basketball team takes it one game at a time and that Thursday it was totally focused on hapless North Carolina-Wilmington and not preoccupied with Sunday, when the Dukes will host 20th-ranked Delaware, the defending Colonial Athletic Association champion, at 2 p.m.
But Brooks didn’t.
“Yeah, yeah … we know, we know, and for me to try to kid myself and say, ‘Oh, these kids are totally focused’ — they know that the game was on Sunday,” JMU’s coach said after the Dukes, despite a less-than-spirited performance, breezed past UNCW 74-43 for their eighth straight win. “Did it [contribute] to the way we played? I don’t know. But there’s excitement. We understand that [Delaware is] a big game.”
Madison (15-7 overall, 9-1 in the CAA) had to win to keep it really big.
On Thursday, the Dukes, who have won 12 out of 13 games, trailed for about the first seven minutes before taking the lead for good on a runner from freshman guard Precious Hall. It was part of a 17-3 run that sent UNC-Wilmington (2-19, 1-9) on its way to its eighth straight loss.
“First and foremost, they’ve got a tremendous coach, and he recruits tremendous players,” said first-year UNCW coach Adell Harris, who replaced Hall of Famer Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, now the coach at Texas Southern. “And they have a point guard, a shooting guard — big guards, quick guards, athletic bigs. The one thing they don’t have is just a true 6-4 big body in there. However, I don’t think that’s going to stop them from being successful during the season at all, because they’re so mobile in there. They can score if they need points inside.”
JMU did well inside Thursday, most notably freshman Destiny Jones, who has started to emerge after taking some time to adjust to the college game. The 6-foot forward showcased startling athleticism and strength with a solo fast break midway through the first half. She appeared to leap over a defender for the layup.
Jones had eight points and six rebounds in 16 minutes.
With Jasmine Gill’s departure — the senior guard, who got sporadic playing time, left the team more than a week ago for what Brooks called “personal reasons” — Jones probably will have a more featured role, one she’s earning in practice.
“She does things in practice that everybody — their jaw drops,” Brooks said. “She’s got a jab move — she hasn’t brought it out, yet, but she’s got a jab move that is so deadly, you can’t teach it any better than the way she does it.”
Senior point guard Tarik Hislop led JMU with a game-high 19 points to move into fifth place on Madison’s career scoring list, making the top five scorers in school history all Brooks recruits. Hislop — who also tied Tamera Young for the most starts in JMU history (125) — needs just one point to pass Lesley Dickinson for fourth place.
Hall added 15 points, five rebounds and four assists, while junior guard Kirby Burkholder had 10 points, as the Dukes shot 41 percent for the game and 45.2 percent in the second half to pull away in front of 1,989 fans at the Convocation Center. They led by as many as 35 with 2:19 left after redshirt freshman guard/forward Jazmon Gwathmey hit a 3-pointer. Gwathmey also had a game-best nine rebounds.
“At times, I thought we were kind of sloppy, especially on the defensive end with our rotations,” Hislop said. “But sometimes you have games like that, and you just have to grind it out and make up for the lack of intensity on defense with hustle plays and get and-1s, stuff like that — junk points.”
Garrett 2-7 4-4 8, McGowen 3-7 0-1 6, Lee 2-12 1-1 6, Brown 3-5 1-2 9, Freeman 2-6 0-0 6, Mandic 1-3 2-2 4, Atkins 2-6 0-0 4. Totals 15-46 8-10 43.
Giggetts 3-6 0-0 6, Gwathmey 3-8 0-0 6, Hall 4-13 6-7 15, Burkholder 3-7 3-3 10, Hislop 7-15 3-4 19, Jones 3-6 2-2 8, Ross 1-4 3-4 5, Shepherd 1-1 2-2 4, Mickens 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 25-61 20-24 74.
Halftime—James Madison 33-19. 3-Point Goals—UNCW 5-15 (Lee 1-5, Brown 2-4, Freeman 2-5, Atkins 0-1), James Madison 4-13 (Hall 1-5, Burkholder 1-4, Hislop 2-4). Fouled Out—none. Rebounds—UNCW 31 (Garrett 6), James Madison 41 (Gwathmey 9). Assists—UNCW 5 (Lee 3), James Madison 9 (Hall 4). Total Fouls—UNCW 20, James Madison 12. A—1,989.