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JMU roundup: Dukes punch NCAA ticket with CAA championship


Daily Staff Reports - sports@nvdaily.com

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. -- Top-seeded James Madison University's women's basketball is headed to the NCAA tournament after the Dukes defeated two-time defending champion Delaware 70-45 in Sunday's Colonial Athletic Association championship game.

This is JMU's (28-5) seventh tournament title in program history, the sixth as the top-seeded squad. It is the third title under coach Kenny Brooks, who is now 20-8 all-time in CAA tournament games, and the first since 2011.

With the Dukes leading 16-12 at the 10:33 mark of the first half, they charged for a 12-0 run over the next four minutes to take a 28-12 lead. The Blue Hens posted four quick points before Madison fired off another 10-2 run to close the half and head into the locker room leading by 38-18. They pushed the advantage to as many as 31 points in the second half before downing the Blue Hens 70-45.

The Dukes were powered by a career day from redshirt-sophomore guard Jazmon Gwathmey, who earned Most Outstanding Player honors for the tournament. She scored a career-high 20 points, including 8-10 from the free throw line, and snared a career-high-tying 14 rebounds for her first double-double performance of the season. She dished out two assists with two blocks (53 this season -- tied for third most) and a steal in the championship game.

Senior Precious Hall and senior Kirby Burkholder joined Gwathmey on the all-tournament squad. Hall tallied 14 points with four assists and two steals on Sunday while Burkkholder added 11 points, seven rebounds and a season-high-tying four steals.

Other all-tournament honorees include Delaware senior Kelsey Buchanan, Delaware sophomore Joy Caracciolo, and UNCW junior Kelva Atkins.

Junior Toia Giggetts also notched 11 points on the day, her 24th consecutive double-figure game, and added eight rebounds and two steals for the Dukes. Redshirt-junior forward Lauren Okafor scored eight points with three blocks. All 10 Dukes who dressed saw action in the game with eight scoring.

Redshirt-senior forward Nikki Newman moved into a tie for eighth-most blocks in a season (46) with two denials on the day. She contributed two assists, moving into a tie for ninth-most in JMU history, as well as two points, four rebounds and a steal

Delaware was led by Akeema Richards' 12 points while Courtni Green added 10 points. Buchanan chipped in six points with eight rebounds, and Caracciolo added eight points and 10 rebounds.

JMU limited Delaware to just 18 points in the first half, the 14th time this season the Dukes' have limited an opponent to 20 or fewer points in a stanza. This was the 17th time this season out of 32 games the Dukes' have limited an opponent to 50 or fewer points in a game.

The Dukes forced the Blue Hens into 22 turnovers, 10 of them off steals, and converted those into 26 points. JMU turned the ball over 15 times, seven off Delaware steals; however, they turned into just nine points for UD.

Outrebounding the Blue Hens 50-41, the Dukes held the advantage in second-chance points (24-11) and fast-break points (12-0).

The NCAA Selection Show airs Monday at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

Baseball

HARRISONBURG -- Ryan Karl's grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the ninth tied the score at 8-8 and Cornell struck for six runs in the 10th to defeat James Madison 14-8 to win the non-conference baseball series on Sunday at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.

CU improved to 7-3 while JMU fell to 8-11.

JMU led 8-3 after scoring seven runs in the seventh, but Cornell scored one in the eighth and then rallied late in the ninth. The Big Red had one on with two outs when a hit batter and an infield single loaded the bases. Karl then sent senior Trent Cundiff's first pitch to right center for a grand slam for his fourth home run of the weekend while tying the score at 8-8. JMU loaded the bases with one out in the ninth but a strikeout and flyout ended the frame as the Dukes stranded 16 runners in the game.

Two walks sandwiched around a hit-and-run single loaded the bases with no outs in the 10th for Cornell. Eliot Lowell walked to drive in the go-ahead run and Tommy Wagner bounced a single over the first baseman to drive in two to make it 11-8, still with no outs. Another bases-loaded walk brought in a run with one out and Frankie Padulo added a two-run single to make it 14-8.

Matt Horton picked up the win to improve to 1-1 with three shutout innings of relief. Starter Michael Byrne limited JMU to one unearned run in six innings before the Dukes got seven off the bullpen prior to Horton's entrance.

Cundiff picked up his first loss of the season after allowing six runs, five earned, in two innings in relief of junior starter Chris Huffman. Huffman took a shutout into the sixth and finished allowing three runs on nine hits in seven innings.

Senior third baseman Ty McFarland and senior second baseman Conner Brown each had three hits for the Dukes. McFarland drove in two and scored twice while Brown had one RBI and a walk. Junior center fielder Kevin Husum, redshirt senior first baseman Matt Tenaglia and freshman Josh Wyatt each had two hits in JMU's 15-hit day.

JMU is scheduled to be home on Tuesday for a 4 p.m. game against Liberty.

Women's golf

ORANGE PARK, Fla. - The James Madison women's golf team improved one spot to finish 10th at the 2014 JMU/Eagle Landing Invitational on Sunday.

The three-day, 54-hole tournament, hosted by the Dukes, was played at Eagle Landing Golf Club (Par 72 - 6,208 yards).

In sunny weather but with winds steady at 20 and gusting as high as 35 miles per hour, the scores went up almost 1.5 shots over the second round. Madison managed to post a 310 in the last round and finished 10th at 53-over 917. Elon posted the only sub-300 team score in the final round with an 11-over 299 to take the team title with a 54-hole total of 892. Georgia State was second four shots back at 896, with Delaware in third at 899. Southern Illinois at 901 and Daytona State at 903 rounded out the top five squads.

Junior Shabril Brewer was the top JMU player in the tournament, posting a 4-over 76 in the last 18 and finishing in a tie for 13th at 7-over 223. Senior Ginger Mak was next in a tie for 31st at 11-over 227, posting a team-best 3-over 75 in the last 18. Junior Nikola Wessels was next in a tie for 57th at 20-over 236, while junior Maria Andrea Legaspi tied for 65th at 25-over 241. Freshman Nicola Haynes posted her second-straight sub-80 round with a 7-over 79 and tied for 74th at 28-over 244. Playing as an individual, sophomore Kelsey Solan tied for 44th at 17-over 233

Daytona State's Tiffany Chan was the only player under par in the tournament, finishing at 1-under 215 after a final round of 1-under 71 to take medalist honors. Maria Palacios of Georgia State was second, three shots back at 2-over 218.

Madison will return to play back in the state of Florida, competing in the Web.com Invitational April 7-8 at Marsh Landing Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla.



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