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Second-seeded James Madison University overcame a difficult shooting performance and picked up a 59-48 victory over No. 7 Towson in the quarterfinals of the CAA Women's Basketball Championship, presented by Jani-King, on Friday evening at The Show Place Arena.
JMU (22-9) advanced to the CAA semifinals for the ninth year in a row and will face Drexel, a 65-31 quarterfinal winner over William & Mary, on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Towson had its three-game winning streak snapped and ended its season with a 12-18 record.
Freshman Precious Hall led JMU with 16 points, eight of which came in the first 5:25 of the second half as the Dukes took control of the game by expanding a nine-point halftime lead to 17. Senior guard Tarik Hislop added 13 points and junior Kirby Burkholder had 10 points. Redshirt freshman Jazmon Gwathmey grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds and blocked three shots.
Towson got a game-high 27 points from junior guard Tanisha McTiller. She was 7-of-16 from the floor, including 5-of-9 from three-point range. Senior forward Michelle Peebles contributed 13 points and eight rebounds and forward Nyree Williams snared 14 boards.
Leading 24-15 at intermission, JMU opened the second half on a 12-4 run. Hall hit a layup and drained two three-pointers during the stretch, with the last one putting the Dukes up 36-19 with 14:35 to go. Towson never got closer than 11 points the rest of the way.
Both teams struggled with their shooting. JMU made just 27.8% of its field goal attempts, including 4-of-16 from three-point range, while Towson hit only 25%, including 5-of-20 from beyond the arc. The difference in the game was turnovers as the Tigers committed 17 and the Dukes had only eight.
JMU jumped out to a 13-2 lead on a Hislop jumper with 13:48 left in the first half and had its nine-point halftime advantage despite shooting just 19% (8-42) from the floor. Towson, which made only 17.2% (5-29) of its first-half field goal attempts, got as close as six, 15-9, on a McTiller three-pointer with 4:53 remaining.
HARRISONBURG - Fordham scored 12 runs on eight hits, including three home runs as the James Madison softball team fell in its season opener to the Rams 12-1 in five innings at Veterans Memorial Park, Friday.
The loss snapped JMU's seven-game winning streak and dropped it to 16-7 on the season. Fordham won its eighth straight to improve to 13-9.
Right-hander Jamie Labovick earned the win for the Rams, improving to 8-6 on the year. She limited her opponent to one run on three hits. The senior struck out two and did not walk a batter in four innings of work. Patti Maloney pitched a perfect inning in relief to close out the game.
Sophomore right-hander Sarah Mooney took the loss for Madison, dropping to 2-2. She gave up six runs on five hits and three walks. She struck out three and walked three in two innings of work. Sophomore pitcher Reba DePriest allowed four runs, two earned, on two hits and a walk while striking out two in 1 1/3 innings of relief. Sophomore right-hander Miranda Kemp gave up two unearned runs on a hit and a walk over the final 1 2/3 innings.
Shortstop Chelsea Palumbo paced the Fordham attack, going 3-for-3 with a triple, two runs and a RBI while designated player Paige Ortiz finished 1-for-2 with a home run and three RBIs. Third baseman Elise Fortier reached base three times. She homered and walked twice, adding two RBIs and two runs scored.
JMU was limited to three hits, two of which came from sophomore left fielder Morgan Heath. Heath finished 2-for-2 with a steal. The third hit of the day came from Mooney who completed her day 1-for-2 with a home run and a RBI.
After a scoreless first inning, the Rams jumped out in front 5-0 on a pair of home runs in the top of the second. Ortiz started the scoring with a three-run shot to left field scoring right fielder Michelle Daubman and Palumbo. Daubman reached base on a lead-off walk and moved to second on a bunt single by Palumbo. Mooney retired two of the next three batters, only allowing Labovick to reach on a single, but was unable to escape the inning without further harm as Fortier lined a home run out over the fence in left.
Fordham added two more runs to its lead in the third on a triple by Palumbo and a passed ball. Second baseman Kayla Lombardo scored on Palumbo's triple to right-center after leading off the frame with a walk. After a hit-by-pitch, Palumbo came in to score on a passed ball.
A walk and an error put two runners on base for the Rams in the fourth inning and Lombardo capitalized on the opportunity, drilling a three-run home run to center field to extend the lead to 10-0.
Madison got a run back in the fourth on a solo home run by Mooney. It was the second-year Duke's seventh homer of the season and the 16th of her career, tying her for fifth on the school's all-time list.
The Rams capped off the game with two more runs in the fifth. Pinch hitter Christina Siesta scored on a wild pitched and Labovick scored an unearned run on a ground-out to reach the final margin of 12-1.
JMU returns to action in the 2013 JMU Softball Invitational at 1 p.m. on Saturday against Detroit before closing the day at 3 p.m. against Binghamton.
BLACKSBURG - Senior diver Kimberly Helfrich scored 284.40 points in the finals of the 3-meter board at the NCAA Zone A Diving Championships to finish fifth in the event at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center in Blacksburg, Va., Friday.
Helfrich was one of two divers to reach the finals for JMU. She was joined by sophomore Alex Savage who finished 14th.
Helfrich scored 305.95 in the preliminaries to head into the finals in third place, but was edged by Virginia Tech's Logan Kline and Massachusetts' Michaela Butler to fall into fifth. The top three divers in the event qualified for the NCAA Championships being held in Indianapolis, Ind., next week.
Savage scored a 259.05 in the prelims and a 238.80 in the finals to finish with 497.85 points.
Virginia Tech's Kaylea Arnett won the 3-meter event with a score of 706.55 to earn a berth in next week's NCAA Championship. She'll be joined by Kline and UConn's Danielle Cecco. Cecco finished second with a score of 668.65 while Kline came in third with 627.65 points.
Helfrich and Savage wrap up action at the Zone A Championships on Saturday as they participate in the 1-meter dive. The top-two finishers in the one-meter earn invites to the NCAA Championships.
HARRISONBURG - James Madison University took advantage of 10 walks from UNCW pitchers and broke a 2-2 tie with seven runs in the fourth and five in the fifth en route to a 17-5 win in the opener of a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series on Friday evening at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.
JMU won its ninth straight game to improve to 11-6 overall while remaining in first place in the CAA at 4-0. The Dukes reached 10 runs scored for the eighth time in the nine-game run with an average of 11.8 runs per game over that stretch. UNCW dropped to 11-7 overall and 0-1 in the CAA.
Freshman catcher Bobby San Martin's bases-loaded single to left broke a 2-2 tie in the fourth and scored two. That opened the floodgates for a seven-run inning, which was capped by a bases-clearing triple on a high fly by redshirt junior Matt Tenaglia.
UNCW wildness in the fifth added to the lead as six walks helped the Dukes tack on three runs before sophomore Chad Carroll's two-run single made it 14-2. Madison added three runs in the seven on Conner Brown's three-run home run to right center.
Tenaglia finished 3-for-4 with four RBIs. Carroll also drove in four with two hits while senior center fielder Johnny Bladel was 2-for-2 with two RBIs and four runs scored while junior third baseman Ty McFarland added three runs, two RBIs
Sophomore right-hander Patrick Toohers earned the win after allowing three runs on six hits in seven innings. Mat Batts took his first loss of the year after allowing eight runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Second baseman Michael Bass reached in all five plate appearances, going 3-for-3 with a walk and a hit by pitch.
UNCW quickly manufactured a run in business-like fashion in the first with a leadoff single by Bass. He stole second then moved around the bases on a pair of groundouts, the latter a RBI grounder to second by Hunter Ridge.
JMU responded in the bottom of the first with a leadoff double off the wall in right center by Bladel. With two outs, he moved to third on an infield single by Tenaglia. Both runners came around to score on a triple to left that landed in front of a diving Luke Dunlap.
In the second, UNCW had two outs and a runner on third when Toohers had trouble finding the strike zone. Three consecutive walks, the last by Bass, brought in the tying run for the Seahawks to make it 2-2.
After cruising through two innings, Batts ran into some trouble in the fourth. With one out and Tenaglia on first, Batts hit senior right fielder Cole McInturff and walked sophomore shortstop Tyler Duke on five pitches to load the bases. On a two-ball, two-strike pitch, San Martin singled safely to left to drive in Tenaglia and McInturff, staking the Dukes to a 4-2 lead. Bladel then drove a full-count pitch to center to plate Duke and make it 5-2. On a 1-2 pitch, McFarland looped a single over the second baseman for another run and a 6-2 advantage. After a pitching change and a walk to load the bases, Tenaglia lifted a high sky ball to right field that the right fielder never picked up. The second baseman was unable to make the over-the-shoulder catch as Tenaglia cleared the bases with a triple for a 9-2 JMU lead, completing a seven-run inning.