JMU roundup: Aggies knock Dukes from NCAA women’s tourney

Daily Staff Report sports@nvdaily.com

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Senior guard Kirby Burkholder finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds as the James Madison University women’s basketball season came to a close with a 85-69 loss at Texas A&M on Tuesday night.

JMU finishes its campaign with a 29-6 record. It tied the school record for wins in a season and won the program’s first NCAA Tournament game since 1991. Texas A&M advances to the Sweet 16 where it meets seventh-seeded DePaul in Lincoln, Neb. The Aggies improve to 26-8 on the year.

Burkholder added two steals, an assist and a block in 35 minutes played to lead Madison. Redshirt sophomore guard Jazmon Gwathmey and sophomore guard Precious Hall chipped in 14 points apiece. Junior forward Toia Giggetts concludes her season with 26 consecutive double figure scoring games as she poured in 12 points to go with four rebounds.

The Aggies were led by senior Karla Gilbert with 20 points and 15 rebounds. Point guard Jordan Jones handed out 16 assists and forward Courtney Williams scored a game-high 23 points, grabbed six boards and dished out four assists.

Heading into the locker room, Texas A&M held a four-point advantage, but used an early 5-0 spurt to push its led to 10 points at 59-49. The Dukes hung tight, battling back several times, including cutting the deficit to seven on a jumper by Gwathmey with 12:06 to play, but again A&M had an answer. The Aggies scored the next seven points to claim a 71-57 lead. JMU got as close as seven points one more time with a jumper by Hall, but could not threaten beyond that point.

The Aggies shot 50 percent from the field in the contest, making 29 of their 58 shots. They assisted on 23 of their buckets and limited themselves to 11 turnovers in the game. The Dukes shot 36.9 percent and held a 6-2 advantage in blocked shots. Texas A&M outscored JMU 36-28 in the paint, with 20 of those points coming after halftime. It also became the third team to win the battle of the boards against the Dukes this season, holding a 42-36 rebounding advantage.

Redshirt senior forward Nikki Newman had a team-best five assists to finish her JMU career. She also pulled in three rebounds and blocked a shot in 27 minutes of action. She moved into a tie for fourth on the school’s career game’s started chard with 120, tying Dawn Evans (2007-11) and Lesley Dickinson (2003-07) on the list.

The opening half was an up-and-down battle featuring five tie scores and six lead changes. JMU opened the game by scoring eight of the first 12 points to lead 8-4 They stretched that lead to as many as six points on a pair of free throws by Burkholder, but the Aggies responded with an eight-point run to jump in front by two. They would build their advantage to as many as five points and eventually went to the locker rooms with a four-point lead.

Texas A&M shot 52 percent in the opening period, including making two of their six 3-point attempts to head into the locker room leading 47-43. JMU kept it tight by shooting 45.2 percent and holding an 18-15 advantage on the boards. The Dukes also made 13 of their 14 free-throw attempts and held a 20-16 lead on points in the paint.

Men’s golf

WILLIAMSBURG — The James Madison men’s golf team placed fourth at the 2014 Middleburg Bank Intercollegiate on Monday. The three-day, 54-hole tournament, hosted by William & Mary, was played at the Kingsmill Resort – River Course (Par 70 – 6,765 yards) in Williamsburg.

Battling the cold and rain in the final round, Madison posted a 15-over 295 and finished at 32-over 872 in fourth. Second-round leader Texas Tech finished off with a win at 11-over 851, 13 shots ahead of UNCG in second at 24-over 864. Radford was third at 25-over 865, followed by JMU in fourth and Miami (Ohio) in fifth at 35-over 875.

Freshman Poom Pattaropong was the top JMU player at 6-over 216 with a team-best 1-over 71 in the final round, tying him for 10th overall. It was Pattaropong’s second top-10 finish of the year and top placing of the spring. Junior Trey Smith was one shot back at 7-over 217, tied for 13th, his fifth top-15 of the season. Freshmen Ryan Cole gave JMU three top-20 finishes, as he tied for 19th at 9-over 219. Senior Tucker Koch was one shot back of Cole in a tie for 25th at 10-over 220. Junior Jon Weiss tied for 104th at 23-over 233.

Clement Sordet of Texas Tech took home medalist honors at 2-under 208, one shot ahead of teammate Matias Dominguez and UNCG’s Roy Dixon at 1-under 210, as Dixon had a tournament-best 5-under 65 in the final round. Just five players finished at even-par or better in the tournament.

The Dukes will return to the course on April 5, taking on Liberty in match play at Poplar Grove Golf Course in Amherst. JMU’s next tournament is the Coca-Cola Wofford Invitational on April 14-15 at Country Club of Spartanburg in Spartanburg, S.C.