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Posted October 22, 2013 | Leave a comment
JMU roundup: Dukes top CAA preseason women's hoops poll
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BALTIMORE -- James Madison women's basketball was picked by the league's head coaches to win the 2013-14 Colonial Athletic Association title, as announced at CAA Basketball Media Day Tuesday while senior guard Kirby Burkholder was voted the Preseason CAA Player of the Year.
Drexel, the 2013 Women's National Invitation Tournament champion, was chosen to finish second, ahead of Northeastern, Towson and 2013 CAA champion-Delaware. Hofstra finished sixth in the poll, and CAA newcomer College of Charleston tallied a seventh-place selection. North Carolina-Wilmington and William & Mary rounded out the voting in eighth and ninth, respectively.
The Dukes return eight players from last year's CAA semifinal team and Women's National Invitation Tournament quarterfinal squad. In 2012-13, JMU went 25-11 overall with a 15-3 record in league play.
Burkholder, who finished the 2012-13 season averaging 15.0 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game, is joined by sophomore guard Precious Hall on the Preseason All-CAA First Team. As a freshman, Hall earned 2013 CAA Rookie of the Year honors after she dropped in 9.6 points per game and snagged 3.1 rebounds per game.
Junior forward Toia Giggetts and redshirt sophomore guard/forward Jazmon Gwathmey will continue to make an impact for the Dukes after strong 2012-13 seasons. Giggetts averaged 7.5 points and 6.4 rebounds as a sophomore starter, and Gwathmey added in a solid 6.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Gwathmey also led the Dukes in blocks last season, swatting away 34 on the year on her way to being named CAA All-Rookie.
Redshirt senior forward Nikki Newman returns to the court after sitting out the 2012-13 season due to injury. Redshirt junior center Lauren Okafor makes her debut for Madison after sitting out last season due to transfer eligibility rules.
JMU women's basketball hosts an exhibition game on Nov. 3 at noon at the JMU Convocation Center against Lenoir-Rhyne. The Dukes open the 2013-14 season when the University of Virginia comes to town on Nov. 8, for a 7 p.m. tip-off.
BALTIMORE -- Defending Colonial Athletic Association champion James Madison was selected to place seventh among nine teams in the league for the 2013-14 season as announced at Tuesday's CAA media day event held at the Inner Harbor Renaissance Hotel.
The annual preseason poll is based on votes from the league's coaches, sports information directors and media members. In addition, the same voters selected sophomore guard Andre Nation to the Second Team Preseason All-CAA squad, though the voting was conducted prior to his suspension for the first 15 games of the season.
Due in large part to roster turnover and possessing the second-youngest team in the country, the CAA poll predicted an uphill battle for the Dukes. No team has finished as low as seventh after winning the league title since UNCW finished 10th in 2007 after winning it as the top seed in 2006.
One year after completing the greatest win turnaround in NCAA history, voters picked Towson to continue the upswing as the predicted league champion. Drexel was picked second with many returning pieces and was followed by a CAA newcomer, the College of Charleston. The remainder of the poll consisted of Delaware, William and Mary, Northeastern, JMU, UNCW and Hofstra.
Last year JMU was picked sixth among 11 teams in the CAA before earning the No. 3 seed in the regular season and catching fire at the right time to claim its first title in 19 years. However, after boasting the most fifth-year seniors in all of Division I last year, the Dukes return just four players who appeared in the championship game heading to this year. Madison's roster features eight newcomers but also includes the return of sixth-year senior Andrey Semenov, who missed all but seven games due to injury.
In addition to Semenov and Nation, JMU will be led by returning sophomores Charles Cooke, Ron Curry and Taylor Bessick.
Towson's Jerrelle Benimon was picked to repeat as CAA Player of the Year. He was joined on the preseason All-CAA First Team by Drexel teammates Damion Lee and Frantz Massenat, along with guards Devon Saddler of Delaware and Marcus Thornton of William and Mary.
The CAA also unveiled its television package for the upcoming season with the Dukes tied for the second-most appearances with eight. JMU's part of the league TV package begins against Delaware at home on Jan. 11 and features a national TV appearance at home on Feb. 2 vs. William and Mary on NBC Sports Network. JMU's other CAA TV games include Jan. 18 at William and Mary, Jan. 25 vs. Charleston, Feb. 4 at Towson, Feb. 10 vs. Hofstra, Feb. 15 vs. UNCW and Feb. 19 vs. Drexel.
JMU will see its first court action on Nov. 3 with an exhibition game vs. Philadelphia University. The Dukes then open the season on Nov. 8 at No. 25 Virginia at 7 p.m. on ESPN3. Madison's home opener will be Nov. 19 vs. Detroit and will include recognition of the 2013 championship banner. One other national TV appearance for the Dukes will take place on Dec. 21 with the Governor's Holiday Hoops Classic vs. Hampton at the Richmond Coliseum with coverage on NBCSN.
CAA media day was held in Baltimore in conjunction with the city's hosting of the CAA championship in March (7-10) at the Baltimore Arena. The opening game will be streamed on CAA.TV followed by Saturday's quarterfinal games on Comcast SportsNet and the semifinals and final airing on NBCSN.
Madison put together its second straight under-par round, posting a 3-under 281 to finish at 12-over 864 in ninth. VCU jumped from fourth to the team title with a 13-under 271 in the last 18 to finish at 9-under 843, nine shots ahead of runner-up Maryland at even-par 852. Hartford was third at 1-over 853, with Marshall in fourth at 5-over 857. Elon and Old Dominion tied for fifth at 7-over 859.
Junior Trey Smith was the top finisher for JMU after recording his second straight under-par round, shooting a 4-under 67 and finished at 3-under 210 in a tie for sixth. Junior Jon Weiss was next in 13th at even-par 213 following a final round 1-under 70. Freshman Ryan Cole was one shot back of Weiss at 1-over 214 after he also shot a 1-under 70 to finish at 1-over 214 to tie for 14th. Freshman Poom Pattaropong shot his second consecutive 3-over 74 and placed 74th at 15-over 228. Sophomore Chris Kapsak was the final Duke at 19-over 232, tying for 81st. Marshall's Logan Lagodich won a one-hole playoff with Old Dominion's Jamison Randall and Rocky Khara of VCU for medalist honors after the trio tied at 6-under 207 for the 54-hole tournament.
The Dukes have now wrapped up their fall portion of the schedule and will next be in action on Mon.-Tue., Jan. 27-28 at the Arizona Intercollegiate at Sewailo Golf Club in Tucson, Ariz.
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