Posted November 15, 2012 | comments Leave a comment

JMU roundup: Dukes surge past Racers

Daily Staff Reports - sports@nvdaily.com

Host James Madison (1-2) pulled away from Murray State (0-3) midway through the first half and went on to post a 71-51 win in women's basketball Thursday evening at the JMU Convocation Center.

Senior guard Tarik Hislop led JMU with 17 points, and redshirt senior guard Jasmine Gill added 11 points. Sophomore forward/center Crystal Ross grabbed a game-high and career-high 11 rebounds, and junior guard Kirby Burkholder finished with nine rebounds.

Murray State was led by senior guard Mariah Robinson with 14 points and senior forward Kyra Watson with 13 points and a game-high six rebounds.

The Dukes broke open a close game with a 14-2 scoring run that brought JMU from an 8-7 deficit to a 21-10 lead with 11:37 left in the opening half. Ross scored six of her career-high eight points and Hislop added four points during the stretch.

JMU extended its lead to 23 points, 44-21, at halftime, and led by 20-plus points the rest of the game.

The Dukes shot 43 percent (29-68) from the floor to only 27 percent (15-55) for Murray State, and JMU outrebounded the Racers 48-40.


James Madison senior outside hitter Danielle Erb, redshirt senior outside hitter Natalie Abel and freshman outside hitter Meghan Niski all collected All-Colonial Athletic Association honors as announced by the league at the annual awards banquet on Thursday evening. Erb received second team All-CAA honors while Abel was a third team honoree and Niski received All-Rookie accolades.

The awards were decided by a vote of the league's head coaches and were presented on the eve of the CAA Tournament being held on the campus of Towson University.

Northeastern outside hitter Kelly Bacon was voted the league's Player of the Year while Towson's Aubrey Kirven was named Setter of the Year and her coach, Bruce Atkinson, was named the Coach of the Year. William & Mary freshman Dessi Koleva claimed Rookie of the Year honors and a fellow rookie, Delaware's Ariel Shonk, is the Defensive Specialist of the Year.

Erb is the second player in program history to be named to an All-CAA team four times, joining Karla Gessler (1997-2000). She was a third team All-CAA selection in 2009 and 2011 and a second-team honoree in 2010. In 2012, she was one of two players to play in all 99 sets for the Dukes, starting in all 27 matches. She led the team and was sixth in the CAA in kills with 322, averaging 3.25 per set. She was second on the squad in digs (302), blocks (48) and service aces (24) and hit .237 on 932 attack attempts. This season, she became just the fourth player in school history to surpass 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs, ranking fifth in the program in kills (1,291) and sixth in digs (1,117).

Abel collected her third All-CAA recognition on Thursday, adding third-team accolades to her first-team recognition from 2011 and third-team honors from 2010. She played in 21 matches with 19 starts, and averaged 3.05 kills and 2.14 digs per set. The redshirt senior hit .222 with 17 blocks, 14 assists and 11 aces in 76 sets played. She joined Erb as one of 10 players in school history to reach 1,000 digs, finishing the regular season ranked fourth with 1,145.

Niski is the third player in three seasons under head coach Lauren Steinbrecher to collect All-Rookie recognition for the Dukes. This is the eighth consecutive year that JMU has placed a player on the All-Rookie team. Niski started all 27 matches while appearing in 97 sets. She was fourth on the squad with 230 kills, averaging 2.37 per set on .187 hitting. She added 249 digs, 20 blocks, 14 assists and eight aces. She led all rookies in the CAA in kills and was third in digs.

The 2012 CAA Volleyball Championship gets under way on Friday at 4 p.m. as sixth-seeded JMU takes on third-seeded Northeastern in the quarterfinals at the Towson Athletics Center.

Field hockey

James Madison field hockey senior midfielder Jenna Taylor and redshirt junior forward Rachel Wein were named to the Longstreth/National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division I All-South Region Second Team on Thursday.

This is the first all-region honor for both players as they were a pair of the 128 honorees announced by the NFHCA. Six different Colonial Athletic Association teams combined to place 19 players on the all-region teams, including five each by Northeastern and Drexel. Joining JMU's two players in the South Region were four members of the Old Dominion team and one player from William & Mary. Hofstra was the sixth team to get players recognized with two on the All-Mideast team.

Taylor adds All-Region accolades to her first team All-CAA honors for 2012. She started all 19 games for the Dukes and was second on the squad in assists (eight) and fourth in points (eight). She set a new career-high for assists in a game with three helpers in Madison's 3-0 win over Delaware in the regular season finale. Taylor recorded 10 shots, including three shots on goal, while playing in the midfield. She helped contribute to a defense that allowed just 25 goals all season and held opponents to 1.32 goals per game.

Wein was a second team All-CAA selection and a CAA Championship All-Tournament selection. She started all 19 games at forward, scoring a team-best nine goals and 21 points. She had one game-winning goal while recording a career-high in goals (two), assists (two) and points (six) in a win over Radford. Wein led the CAA Championship in scoring with three goals in two games.

Wein and Taylor are the first JMU players to collect All-Region honors since Amy Daniel (2007-10) was a First Team selection in 2010.

All players selected to an All-Region team are eligible for All-American honors. The NFHCA All-American awards are set to be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 20.

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