JMU roundup: Burkholder hits eight treys as Dukes roll to win

Daily Staff Report –

BOSTON — Senior guard Kirby Burkholder scored 30 points, including a career-high eight 3-pointers to lead the James Madison women’s basketball team to an 86-49 win over Northeastern at the Cabot Center on Wednesday.

JMU finished its regular season with a 25-5 record and a 15-1 mark in the Colonial Athletic Association. Its 25 regular season wins ties for the most in school history with the 2006-07 team. Northeastern dropped to 12-17 and 6-10 in the league.

Burkholder’s 30 points came on 11-for-18 shooting and 8-for-13 from beyond the 3-point arc. She added eight rebounds and an assist in 30 minutes of play. Her eight made 3s give her 102 on the season, the second-highest total for a single-season in conference history. She trails only the 112 made by Dawn Evans (2007-11) in 2009-10 for the most in CAA history.

Redshirt sophomore guard Jazmon Gwathmey chipped in 13 points, four rebounds, four assists and four steals while junior forward Toia Giggetts reached double digits for the 21st consecutive game after scoring 11. Sophomore guard Precious Hall was the fourth Duke in double figures with 10 points, five rebounds and five assists.

Redshirt senior forward Nikki Newman recorded three steals in the game, giving her 180 for her career. She moved into eighth in program history with the day’s effort.

Northeastern was led by Jewell Tunstull with a double-double. She scored 18 points and pulled in 10 rebounds. A’lece Mark contributed 12, two blocks and two steals while Amencie Mercier had seven points.

After heading into the break with a 40-21 advantage, JMU held Northeastern to eight points for the first 12 minutes, 39 seconds as it built a 34-point advantage. The lead never got inside 27 points the remainder of the game as the Dukes went on to win by 27.

James Madison held a 42-31 advantage on the boards, including a 24-15 lead in the second half. It grabbed 15 offensive boards to outscore the Huskies 18-15 in second-chance points and enjoyed a 38-16 lead on points in the paint. The Dukes forced 18 Northeasten turnovers while committing just 10 themselves for a 20-9 lead in points off turnovers.

Burkholder scored the Dukes’ first 14 points, hitting four of her first five attempts from 3-point range. The hot start helped JMU build a 14-7 advantage and forced Northeastern to call a timeout at the 11:42 mark. The Huskies trimmed the lead to five at 20-15 with 8:12 to play, but James Madison responded with a 9-0 run to push its advantage back out to 14 points.

The Huskies got as close as 10 points following a pair of free throws by Tunstull before JMU again responded with a 9-0 run to close the half, heading into the break leading 40-21.

The Dukes are off for over a week as they’ll next take the court at the Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md., for the CAA Championship. The top-seeded Dukes will face the winner of the 8/9 game between UNCW and William & Mary at noon on March 14.

Women’s lacrosse

HARRISONBURG — Junior Stephanie Finleyscored a game-high five goals, including the game winner with under a minute to play, to rally No. 19 James Madison to an 11-10 upset of No. 9 Penn State on Wednesday.

With their second straight come-from-behind victory over a top-10 foe, the Dukes improved to 4-1 on the year while the Nittany Lions fell to 2-3 this season.

With JMU trailing 10-9 with just under seven minutes to play, JMU’s defense clamped down to hold Penn State scoreless the remainder of the way. Finley got her fourth goal of the game with 3:33 to play in the contest to tie the game at 10. Following changes of possession, the Dukes got the ball back and eventually earned a free position shot with under a minute to go. Finley took the free position shot, sliding it underneath Penn State goaltender Cat Rainone for the lead with 46 seconds to play. From there, James Madison was able to get possession and run out the remainder of the clock.

Penn State jumped out to an early 4-0 just over four minutes into the contest. However, Finley scored two straight goals and senior Julianne Giles added a third to cut the lead to 4-3 midway in the first half. The visitors got three more in the first half as compared to JMU’s two to take a 7-5 halftime advantage.

After an early exchange of goals to start the second half, the Dukes got three straight scores from Finley, sophomore Taylor Gress and junior Hannah Verschoore to take its first lead of the match at 9-8 with 12:32 to play. Penn State answered with two goals in 60 seconds to go back up 10-9 with 6:41 to play, setting up the late game dramatics for the JMU victory.

The game was fairly even overall, with Penn State holding slight advantages in shots (23-22), draw controls (12-11) and ground balls (20-18). James Madison did force 16 Nittany Lion turnovers as compared to 15 for the Dukes.

Gress finished with a pair of goals, while Finley and redshirt-junior Emily Rhoads each recorded two assists in the victory. Junior goalkeeper Schylar Healy recorded eight saves in the match, including seven in the first half to keep JMU in the contest.

For Penn State, Jess Loizeaux, Kelly Lechner and Jenna Mosketti each had a pair of goals, with Mackenzie Cyr leading with two assists. Rainone had eight saves in the loss.

James Madison returns to the field March 9, traveling to Storrs, Conn., to take on the Connecticut Huskies. Game time is set for 1 p.m.

Women’s tennis

RICHMOND — The James Madison University women’s tennis team received another Colonial Athletic Association weekly honor Wednesday as freshman Rachel Nelson was named the CAA Player of the Week.

Nelson helped lead the Dukes to a pair of one-point victories over Connecticut and Cincinnati at the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., last week. She remained undefeated in singles action this spring (6-0) with straight-sets wins over Shea Flanagan (Connecticut) and Katya Bure (Cincinnati).

Nelson is the second JMU player to earn Player of the Week accolades this spring, joining junior Taylor Pinchoff. The duo of sophomore Cara Wirth and redshirt junior Sarah Khan earned the squad’s lone Doubles Team of the Week award

JMU is 6-2 after reeling off four straight wins. The Dukes home opener against Longwood, scheduled for Thursday, has been canceled due to inclement weather, so they will return to action on the road with three matches during a trip to Florida next week. They will play Old Dominion and Evansville in Tampa on Monday and Thursday, respectively, and will travel to Lakeland to take on Air Force on Friday.

Women’s golf

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The James Madison women’s golf team finished 18th at the 2014 Hurricane Invitational on March 3-5. The three-day, 54-hole tournament, hosted by the University of Miami, was played at the Biltmore Golf Course (Par 71 – 6,092 yards) in Coral Gables, Fla.

Playing with just four players due to a late individual withdrawal, the Dukes shot a 29-over 313 for the second straight day and finished at 86-over 938. Northwestern took home the team title after a final round 6-over 290, the best round of the day, to finish at 12-over 864, one shot better than second-round leader Iowa State at 13-over 865. Host Miami was third at 22-over 874, with Campbell in fourth at 24-over 877. Kennesaw State wrapped up the top-five teams at 26-over 878.

Junior Shabril Brewer was the top finished for the Dukes, tying for 60th at 17-over 230 after a team-best final round of 4-over 75. Junior Maria Andrea Legaspi was one shot back at 18-over 231, while senior Ginger Mak tied for 77th at 22-over 235. Freshman Nicola Haynes tied for 87th at 29-over 242 after a final round 7-over 78, her best of the tournament Miami’s Daniela Darquea beat Iowa State’s Sasikarn On-Iam in a sudden death playoff on No. 10 (Darquea pared out, On-Iam bogeyed) to take home medalist honors.

James Madison will return to the course March 10-11 at the North Florida Invitational, being played at the Jacksonville Golf & Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla.