JMU roundup: Burkholder named CAA Player of the Year

Daily Staff Reports – sports@nvdaily.com

ARLINGTON — James Madison University senior guard Kirby Burkholder was named the Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year to highlight 11 total team honors for the James Madison women’s basketball team at the CAA’s pre-tournament banquet on Wednesday.

Joining Burkholder among the major award winners were redshirt senior forward Nikki Newman as the CAA’s Defensive Player of the Year and coach Kenny Brooks as the Coach of the Year. Other award winners for JMU include Burkholder on the All-CAA First Team, junior forward Toia Giggetts and sophomore guard Precious Hall on the All-CAA Second Team and Newman on the All-CAA Third Team. Newman and redshirt sophomore guard Jazmon Gwathmey were named to the CAA All-Defensive team, while Newman and Burkholder collected All-Academic Team recognitions.

This is the second time in conference history that the CAA Player and Defensive Player of the Year have come from the same school. The only other time it happened was when Mery Andrade won both honors for Old Dominion in 1999. The four All-CAA recognitions is a school record for JMU, breaking the previous mark of three.

Burkholder became the fifth player in school history and the fourth in the Brooks era to be named the CAA Player of the Year, joining forwards Meredith Alexis (2003-07) and Tamera Young (2004-08) and guard Dawn Evans (2007-11). She led the CAA in scoring with 19.1 points per game and ranked fifth in the league with 8.1 rebounds per contest. The senior has drained a league-leading 102 3-pointers. She ranks third in the nation with 3.4 treys per game and her 102 3-pointers is the second-highest total for a season in CAA history, trailing only the 112 made by Evans in 2009-10.

Newman earns CAA Defensive Player of the Year for the second time in her career, becoming the third player in conference history to win the accolade twice. She helped Madison lead the conference in scoring defense, field goal percentage defense, 3-point field goal percentage defense, defensive rebounding and blocked shots. The fifth-year Duke ranked fourth in the league in blocks (1.4/game), 15th in steals (1.4/game) and 16th in rebounding (5.5/game).

Brooks guided JMU to a 25-5 overall record and a 15-1 conference mark in his 12th season at the helm of the Dukes. This is his second CAA Coach of the Year honor as JMU won its second CAA regular season title under his tutelage. The Dukes won 24 or more games for the ninth consecutive season, including a 13-game winning streak to open up conference play. Madison’s 15-1 conference record is the team’s best record in league play since going 12-0 back in 1989.

Hall earns Second Team All-CAA after finishing the regular season averaging 13.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 30 games played. The sophomore shot 37.9 percent from the field, including making 33.8 percent of her 3-point attempts and was good for 81.4 percent of shots from the free-throw line.

Giggetts was third on the Dukes in points per game, averaging 13.4 points per contest. She chipped in 5.9 rebounds and 53.5-percent shooting from the field to go with 29 assists, 28 blocks and 24 steals. She ranked 10th in the conference in scoring, 12th in rebounding, second in field goal percentage and seventh in blocked shots.

Gwathmey finished second in the CAA with 1.7 blocks per game. Her 50 rejections rank fifth in JMU history for a single-season. She added 0.8 steals per contest while ranking 20th in the CAA in scoring and rebounding.

William and Mary’s Marlena Tremba was voted the CAA Rookie of the Year and Delaware’s Stephanie Leon was chosen as the recipient of the Dean Ehlers Leadership Award. Joining Burkholder on the All-CAA First Team was Delaware’s Kelsey Buchanan, Towson’s Tanisha McTiller, College of Charleston’s Afryea Tolbert and Northeastern’s Jewel Tunstull.

The CAA tournament gets underway on Thursday at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md., with the first round. Eighth-seeded William & Mary meets ninth-seeded North Carolina-Wilmington with the winner advancing to meet top-seeded JMU in the quarterfinals at noon on Friday.

Women’s tennis

RICHMOND — James Madison women’s tennis senior Jacqueline Palmucci earned the Colonial Athletic Association Singles Player of the Week title after her play against No. 67 Old Dominion on Monday.

Palmucci went 2-0 against the Monarchs, winning her No. 6 singles match in two sets (6-3, 6-2) over Nika Khmolovska. The win marked her fourth straight victory in singles play.She also teamed with senior Ruxandra Andriescu for an 8-5 win at No. 3 doubles over Khmolovska and Faith Atiso.

Delaware’s Nataliya Maumova and Olivia Heim were named the CAA Doubles Team of the Week.

The Dukes face Evansville on Thursday in a neutral-court match. Play begins at 11:30 a.m. in Tampa, Fla.