JMU roundup: Dukes top Pittsburgh

Daily Staff Report – sports@nvdaily.com

PITTSBURGH — Junior forward Toia Giggetts scored a career-high 23 points, including 13 in the second half, to lead the James Madison University women’s basketball team to a 71-61 win over Pittsburgh in the Petersen Events Center on Wednesday evening.

JMU picked up its second win of the season over an Atlantic Coast Conference School and improved to 6-2 on the season. Pitt dropped its second straight to fall to 4-4 overall.

Giggetts hit on 10 of her 15 shots and was 3-for-3 from the free throw line to surpass her previous career-high of 21 set last season at Hofstra. The forward added six rebounds, three assists and a steal in 28 minutes played. Senior guard Kirby Burkholder chipped in 14 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals while redshirt sophomore guard Jazmon Gwathmey had 12 points and two blocks.

Burkholder’s 14 points came on five made field goals, including four 3-pointers. She became the second player in school history to surpass 200 career threes with her third of the game at the 13:51 mark of the second period. She now has 201 makes from beyond the arc and trails only Dawn Evans’ (2007-11) 381 on the school’s all-time list.

Brianna Kiesel led the way for the Panthers with 15 points, three rebounds and three assists. Frederique Potvin contributed 10 points, four rebounds and two assists off the bench while Marvadene Anderson had eight points four rebounds, three blocks and two steals.

The Dukes outscored the Panthers 41-33 in the second half, including a 33-15 run to start the second period. That stretch included a 9-2 stretch in the middle of the second period that gave Madison its largest lead of the game at 20 points with 6:50 remaining. JMU maintained a lead of between 18-20 points for nearly the next five minutes before ceding a 10-point run to close out the game.

The Dukes finished with 17 assists on their 30 buckets with sophomore guard Precious Hall notching a career-best seven. They also forced 17 Pitt turnovers to earn a 21-8 advantage in points off turnovers. The Dukes held a 41-34 lead in rebounds and a 28-12 edge in points in the paint. Pittsburgh bench outscored JMU’s 21-11.

Maison led a majority of the first half, building an advantage as big as seven points. The Panthers largest lead was two points and they did not hold the lead after the Dukes tied the score at 13-13 with 11:05 left in the first half.

In addition to the double-digit performances by Giggetts, Burkholder and Gwathmey, JMU going nine points from Hall, nine from sophomore guard Angela Mickens and two each from redshirt senior forward Nikki Newman and redshirt junior center Lauren Okafor.

Newman snatched seven rebounds in the game, giving her 707 for her career. She is just two boards shy of tying Sydney Beasley (83-85, 86-88) for 10th in program history.

JMU has nine days off before returning to the court on Dec. 14 against Prairie View A&M in the Chartwells Holiday Classic at St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y.