JMU roundup: Top-seeded Dukes win CAA tourney opener

Daily Staff Reports – sports@nvdaily.com

UPPER MARLBORO – Top-seeded James Madison women’s basketball shot 46 percent from the field, including 54.2 percent in the second half as it won its Colonial Athletic Association tournament quarterfinal game against ninth-seeded North Carolina-Wilmington, 69-56, on Friday.

JMU advances to the CAA semifinals where it will face fourth-seeded Drexel. The semifinal matchup is scheduled for a noon start and is available on regional TV. The Dukes improved to 26-5 on the season and 43-24 all-time in the CAA tournament. UNCW completes its season with a 5-27 record.

Sophomore guard Precious Hall paced the Madison offense with 18 points, including hitting four of six attempts from 3-point range. The all-CAA second team selection added five rebounds and an assist. Redshirt sophomore guard Jazmon Gwathmey chipped in 12 points, four rebounds and tied her career high with five assists. Junior forward Toia Giggetts scored in double figures for the 22nd consecutive game with 13 points and pulled in a game-high seven rebounds.

UNCW was paced by guard Kelva Atkins with a game-high 33 points. She scored 25 of her 33 in the second half including 25 of the team’s final 31. Brie Mobley chipped in 16 points and six rebounds while Amber Reeves totaled three points and had four rebounds.

Leading by 10 at halftime, the Dukes opened the second period on an 11-4 run to push its lead out to 17 with 14:56 to go. The lead grew to as much as 19 with 11:08 to play before Atkins helped ignite a 12-2 run to cut the advantage to nine. The lead hung between nine and 14 points the remainder of the way as Madison held off any further threat by four free throws in the final two minutes of play.

JMU outscored UNCW 16-12 in the paint and 6-1 off the bench, but UNCW used nine offensive rebounds to outscore JMU 9-5 in second-chance points. The Seahawks also held an 8-5 lead in points off turnovers as they committed only 10 turnovers to 12 for the Dukes.

Senior guard Kirby Burkholder scored eight points and made two 3-point shots. She now has 104 3-pointers on the season and is eight shy of the CAA single-season record of 112 held by Dawn Evans (2007-11). She also moved into a tie for 10th on the school’s all-time steals list with 178.

Women’s golf

ORANGE PARK, Fla. – The James Madison University women’s golf team was tied for sixth after Friday’s first round of the 2014 JMU/Eagle Landing Invitational.

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 but breezy weather, Madison was able to post a 12-over 300 on the day, currently tied with Wofford. Delaware is the opening round leader at 3-over 291, one shot better than Georgia State in second at 4-over 292. Elon is third another shot back at 5-over 293. Western Carolina is currently fourth at 7-over 295, with Southern Illinois in fifth at 8-over 296.

Junior Nikola Wessels posted the top JMU score at 1-over 73, currently tied for 12th. Wessels was 2-over at the turn, but was able to post two birdies and one bogey in the last five holes to post her score. Juniors Shabril Brewer and Maria Andrea Legaspi are tied for 34th at 3-over 75, with senior Ginger Mak two shots back at 5-over 77, tied for 51st. FreshmanNicola Haynes shot a 16-over 88 and is 92nd overall. Playing as an individual, sophomore Kelsey Solan is tied for 44th at 4-over 76.

UNCG’s Berglind Bjornsdottir and Emily Brooks of Elon are tied for the individual lead at 3-under 69, two shots better than three players tied at 1-under 71. Richmond’s Lauren Conder, Lauren Court of Georgia State and Chelsea Guoynes of Florida Gulf Coast were the trio also under par in the opening 18. Court made early noise with a hole-in-one on No. 2 early in her round.

JMU will go off No. 1 starting at 8 a.m., playing with Florida Gulf Coast and Stephen F. Austin.

Men’s golf

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The James Madison men’s golf team had a solid day throughout the lineup and was second after Friday’s first round of the 2014 Seminole Intercollegiate.

Madison has four players at 73 or better and posted a 1-under 287 to sit in second place, five shots behind No. 34 Mercer at 6-under 282. No. 29 South Florida is currently third, two shots back of the Dukes at 1-over 289, with host No. 12 Florida State in fourth at 2-over 290. North Carolina is currently fifth at 5-over 293.

Junior Jon Weiss shot a team-best 2-under 70 in the first round and is tied for second. In his round, Weiss was 1-under on each side, posting five birdies and three bogeys on the day. Freshmen Ryan Cole and Poom Pattaropong each shot even-par 72 in the first round and are tied for 10th. Cole had an up-and-down round, with five birdies and five bogeys, while Pattaropong had four birdies on the day. Junior Trey Smith is one shot back at 1-over 73, tied for 19th, while sophomore Chris Kapsak posted a 10-over 82 and is tied for 71st. Playing as an individual, senior Tucker Koch is currently tied for 61st at 7-over 79.

Mercer’s Trey Rule is the first round leader at 3-under 69, one shot ahead of a group of four players, including Weiss at 2-under 70. Overall, 18 players are at par or better after the first round.

Saturday’s round has now been altered to a shotgun start, with teams teeing off at 8:30 a.m. JMU will start on holes No. 1-4, playing with Mercer and South Florida.

Women’s tennis

LAKELAND, Fla. – James Madison women’s tennis won its sixth match in seven outings when the Dukes grounded Air Force 5-2 on Friday afternoon in a neutral-court match. The Dukes improved to 7-3 overall while the Falcons fell to 9-5.

JMU trailed 1-0 after USAF won the 2-1 split in doubles action, but rattled off five wins in singles play to take the match 5-2. All five JMU singles wins came in straight sets on Friday, and the lone loss came after a three-set battle.

Seniors Jacqueline Palmucci and Ruxandra Andriescu battled for the 8-6 victory over Marcelli Magday and Anastasia Hueffner at the No. 3 position to keep the Falcons from sweeping doubles play.

At the No. 1 doubles position, junior Taylor Pinchoff and freshman Alex Huie fell 8-2 to Natasha Rizvi and Mary Meyers. At No. 2 doubles, sophomore Cara Wirth and redshirt junior Sarah Khan dropped their match with Tiffany Tran and Lily Forlini, 8-3.

Pinchoff tallied a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Tran at No. 1 singles while her doubles partner Huie rolled to a 6-0, 6-3 win over Meyers at No. 2 singles.

Andriescu fought for the 7-6 victory over Tracy Landram in set one of their No. 5 singles match before notching the 6-2 win in set two for the point. Palmucci handled Chloe Forlini 6-4, 6-3 at No. 6 singles.

Freshman Rachel Nelson earned her ninth win of the spring to remain undefeated in singles duals, taking down Magday 6-0, 6-3 at No. 4 singles. Freshman Emily Bradshaw evened her No. 3 singles match against Rizvi with a 6-3 set two victory after falling 6-1 in set one. Rizvi took set three 6-2 for the point, keeping the Dukes from sweeping singles play.

JMU returns to Harrisonburg for a four-game homestand beginning next weekend. The Dukes begin with George Washington on March 23 at 11 a.m.