JMU roundup: Dukes advance to CAA championship game

Daily Staff Reports – sports@nvdaily.com

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — Top-seeded James Madison women’s basketball plays for the Colonial Athletic Association championship title on Sunday after downing fourth-seeded Drexel 55-43 in Saturday’s semifinal round.

The Dukes upped their record to 27-5 overall while the Dragons finished the regular season 15-16.

With JMU and Drexel tied at 18-all w/ four minutes to go in the first half, the Dukes mounted an 11-0 run to close the half and take the double-digit lead for good. Up 29-18 to start the second half, JMU pushed their run to 16-0 for a 34-18 advantage with 17:14 remaining. The Dukes led by as many as 21 points in the final stanza.

Sophomore Precious Hall and senior guard Kirby Burkholder tied for game-high scoring with 11 points each to lead four Dukes in double figures. Burkholder set a new CAA tournament record for rebounds in a game with 22 boards, the third most in JMU history. She surpassed the previous CAA record of 20, set by Kim Giddens (ODU) in 2003 and JMU’s Meredith Alexis in 2007. The game marked her 30th-career double-figure rebound performance, third most in JMU history, and her 10th double-double of the season.

Redshirt-sophomore guard Jazmon Gwathmey and junior forward Toia Giggetts each chipped in 10 points for JMU. Giggetts, who posted all 10 points in the second half, scored in double figures for the 23rd consecutive game to move into a tie for third-longest streak in JMU history.

Drexel was led by Fiona Flanagan and Abby Redick with 10 points each. Flanagan and Tory Thierolf tied for team-high rebounds with six each.

JMU won the boards with a 41-27 advantage. In the first half, JMU outrebounded Drexel 20-9 with 13 of the Dukes’ boards coming from Burkholder. Madison tallied eight steals off 14 Drexel turnovers while the Dragons committed four steals on the Dukes’ 12 turnovers.

From the floor, JMU shot 37.5 percent but were held to 9.5 percent (2-21) from 3-point range. Drexel shot 31.9 percent from the field with a 46.2-percent mark (6-13) from beyond the arc.

The Dragons opened the game on a 7-2 run before the Dukes settled in for a 10-2 run of their own, taking their first lead off a pair of Mickens layups. A 3-pointer by Thierolf tied the game at 12-all with 9:22 to go in the first half and sparked a five-minute stretch that saw three ties and no lead greater than two points.

With four minutes remaining in the first half, Gwathmey used an offensive rebound and put-back jumper to put JMU ahead 20-18, the final lead change of the game. The sequence sparked an 11-0 run to close the half, including four turnovers by Drexel. Two of the four turnovers came off backcourt thefts by Madison as the Dukes headed into the locker room leading 29-18. JMU held Drexel scoreless for 8:06 to bridge the half and without a field goal for 9:13.

The Dukes face the winner of the semifinal game between second-seeded Delaware and third-seeded Charleston. The CAA championship game begins Sunday at noon at The Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md.


HARRISONBURG — James Madison rallied to take the lead three times in the opener with a walkoff double for the 16-15 win before Cornell rebounded to claim a 17-8 triumph in game two of a non-conference baseball doubleheader on Saturday at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.

With the split, JMU’s record stands at 8-10 while CU is 6-3 on the season. The series finale on Sunday afternoon has been moved up to an 11 a.m. start in order to try to beat a winter storm warning that begins mid-afternoon.

A back-and-forth game came down to the last team batting as sophomore catcher Bobby San Martin hit a one-out, bases-loaded, two-run double deep to left center in the bottom of the ninth to lift James Madison to a 16-15 win over Cornell.

The game featured six lead changes, including every half inning beginning with the bottom of the seventh when JMU plated five runs to take a 12-11 lead. Each team scored twice in their respective turns in the eighth and ninth inning.

With closer Kevin Husum taking the mound in the top of the ninth, Cornell got a one-out double from shortstop Tom D’Alessandro. He came around to score with two outs when Chris Cruz hit an inside-the-park home run to right center. With second baseman Conner Brown chasing the ball well into the outfield, he was unable to make the catch and the ball trickled all the way to the wall to allow Cruz to score the go-ahead run.

In the JMU ninth, redshirt senior first baseman Matt Tenaglia, senior right fielder Tyler Gregory and redshirt sophomore shortstop Kyle Weston each walked to load the bases with one out. San Martin then drilled the second pitch he saw to left center for the instant victory.

Husum earned the win while also going 3-for-5 at the plate with a double, triple, two RBIs and three runs. Senior third baseman Ty McFarland was 3-for-4 with two doubles, a walk, hit by pitch, two RBIs and three runs scored. Brown doubled and hit a grand slam for five RBIs. Tenaglia homered, drove in three and walked twice. Weston singled, doubled and walked three times. San Martin, freshman designated hitter Josh Wyatt (Eden, Md./James M. Bennett) and freshman left fielder Ky Parrott (Herndon, Va./Herndon) each had a pair of hits.

Cornell scored 17 runs over the first six innings, including innings of six, four, four and three runs to defeat James Madison 17-8 in the second game of the doubleheader.

The third through fifth spots in the order each had four hits for the Big Red. Scorza hit two home runs to give him three for the day as part of his 4-for-5 afternoon. Cruz was 4-for-6 with a home run and three RBIs while Plantier was also 4-for-6. Karl also smacked his third home run of the doubleheader.

Brown was 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a double for JMU. Weston collected a pair of doubles to raise his team-high total to nine. Gregory had two hits with his fourth triple and two RBIs. Senior catcher Nick Merullo hit a three-run home run.

Starter Nick Busto picked up the win for Cornell after allowing eight runs in 5 2/3 innings with six strikeouts. Redshirt junior Michael Howerton took the loss after allowing six runs to start the game.


HONOLULU, Hawaii — The James Madison softball team knocked off the No. 2 team in the country as part of a 2-0 showing on the final day of the 2014 Pepsi Rainbow Wahine Classic on Saturday.

JMU defeated BYU 3-1 in the day’s first game to advance to the championship game where it defeated No. 2/4 Oregon, 3-0.

The Dukes finished their two-week trip to the Aloha State with a 9-1 record, including going 5-1 to win the Wahine Classic. They improved to 19-9 overall with the sweep on Saturday. BYU dropped to 1-4 in the tournament and 10-17 overall while Oregon went 5-1 on the weekend and fell to 23-3 this season.

The win over the Ducks is the highest-ranked opponent JMU softball has ever defeated and is its fourth win overall against a ranked foe. The previous highest-ranked opponent to fall to Madison was No. 14 South Florida, last season.

Sophomore left-hander Jailyn Ford tossed nine scoreless innings Saturday, earning a win and a save in the two games. Against Oregon, the 2013 CAA Rookie of the Year twirled her second shutout of the weekend and the 14th of her career to improve to 10-5 on the campaign. She limited her foe to five hits and did not walk a batter while striking out two in seven innings.

Karissa Hovinga took the loss for Oregon, falling to 8-1. She gave up two runs, one earned, on five hits in three innings pitched. The right-hander struck out three, but was relieved by Jasmine Smithson-Willett in the fourth. Smithson-Willet gave up an unearned run on two hits in 1 1/3 innings. Left-hander Cheridan Hawkins tossed the final 2 2/3 innings. She allowed two hits and struck out three.

Offensively, Madison was led by sophomore catcher Erica Field, who went 2-for-4 with a double and a RBI. Freshman center fielder Niki Prince was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored while senior shortstop Caitlin Sandy had a hit and a RBI in three at-bats.

In the tournament’s semifinals, junior right-handed pitcher Heather Kiefer improved to 9-5 overall and 5-0 since traveling to Hawaii in the win over BYU. She held the Cougars to one run on five hits in five innings of work. The two-time All-CAA selection did not walk or strike out a batter. Ford gave up one hit and walked one in two innings of relief to earn her first save of the year.

Women’s golf

ORANGE PARK, Fla. – The James Madison women’s golf team slipped in the second round and is 11th through 36 holes of the 2014 JMU/Eagle Landing Invitational on Saturday.

The three-day, 54-hole tournament, hosted by the Dukes, is being played at Eagle Landing Golf Club (Par 72 – 6,208 yards) in Orange Park, Fla.

In sunny weather with even stronger winds than Friday, Madison struggled on the course, going seven shots higher at 19-over 307 to currently sit in 11th at 31-over 607. George State had a 9-over 297 in the second round to move into the lead at 13-over 589, three shots ahead of opening-round leader Delaware at 16-over 592. Elon remains third another shot back at 17-over 593, with Samford and Southern Illinois tied for fourth at 20-over 596. Samford posted the best round of the second day, shooting a 5-over 293 to post the best score by four shots.

Junior Shabril Brewer had the best round of the tournament so far for the Dukes with an even-par 72, which included four birdies. Senior Ginger Mak is next in a tie for 34th after a 3-over 75 put her at 8-over 152 for the event. Junior Nikola Wessels is tied for 54th at 12-over 156, while junior Maria Andrea Legaspi is two shots back at 14-over 158. Freshman Nicola Haynes improved 11 shots in the second round and posted a 5-over 77 and is currently tied for 81st at 21-over 165. Playing as an individual, sophomore Kelsey Sloan is tied for 39th at 9-over 153 after a second-round 5-over 77.

Southern Illinois’s Cassie Rushing is the 36-hole individual leader after a 2-under 70 has her at 1-under 143, the only player under par. Tiffany Chan of Daytona State and Elon’s Sunna Vidisdottir are one-shot back at even-par 144, with 14 players within three shots of the lead entering the final day.

Women’s lacrosse

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – After scoring only twice in the second half, No. 20 James Madison lacrosse suffered an 8-7 setback at Rutgers on Saturday afternoon.

The Dukes fell to 4-3 on the season in their fifth-straight one-point decision while the Scarlet Knights improved to 4-4 overall.

Tied at 5-5 at the start of the second half, Rutgers broke the tie just 1:11 into the final set with a free-position score. It was the Scarlet Knights’ first lead of the day (6-5).

JMU tied the game at the 19-minute mark off a connection between junior Ali Curwin and freshman Leah Monticello, but Rutgers scored in quick succession to push its lead to two goals (8-6). A tally by junior Stephanie Finley with less than five minutes to go pulled the Dukes within one, but they were unable to score again.

Junior Schylar Healy notched the loss, saving 11 shots and allowing eight goals. She held Rutgers scoreless for the final 17 minutes of play.

Amanda Currell earned the win after committing 11 saves on 18 shots on goal and holding JMU scoreless for a 14:24 stretch in the second half that allowed the Scarlet Knights to take the lead for good.

JMU returns to the Commonwealth as the Dukes travel to No. 6/10 Virginia on Wednesday at 7 p.m.