JMU roundup: Second-half surge lifts Dukes to women’s basketball win

HARRISONBURG — After a 16-3 run to open the second half, the James Madison University women’s basketball team flew by Richmond 79-68 Wednesday night at the JMU Convocation Center to move to 6-1 overall on the season.

With JMU leading by just three at the break (38-35) after nine ties and nine lead changes, Richmond knocked down a 3-pointer to open the half and tie the game for a 10th time. The Dukes, however, rattled off a 16-0 run to go up 54-38 with 15:45 to play in the game. Redshirt-senior center Lauren Okafor highlighted the run with five points, which included a traditional three-point play after she finished off a layup on an offensive rebound and was fouled.

Following the run, Richmond (3-3) went on a 7-0 stretch to pull within nine at 54-47 and continued the run to pull within six points of the Dukes at 66-60 with 6:48 to play, but that was as close as the Spiders would come throughout the remainder of the game. JMU never let the Spiders get closer than seven through the final six-plus minutes and led by as many as nine until the final 20 seconds when junior guard Precious Hall knocked down two free throws to extend the lead back to double digits.

Hall led the way for the Dukes with 27 points on 10-of-24 shooting. The Colonial Athletic Association Preseason Player of Year selection has now scored in double digits 16 consecutive contests, dating back to Feb. 23, 2014 in a 78-47 win over Hofstra at the Convocation Center. Hall is now seven points away from scoring 1,000 in her career.

Junior guard Angela Mickens scored a career-high 13 points on 4-of-10 shooting from the field. Her previous career high was 12, which she set on Nov. 22 in an 80-64 win over Pittsburgh. Okafor was the only other JMU player to score in double figures, tallying 14 points. Senior forward Toia Giggetts led the way on the glass with nine rebounds.

The Spiders had three players score in double figures, with Genevieve Okoro leading the way with 13 points. She finished with a double-double, pulling down 12 rebounds. Both Lauren Tolson and Liz Brown recorded 12 points in the game while Olivia Healy contributed 10 points.

JMU held UR to 29.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc (7-24) while shooting 33.3 percent itself from long range. The Dukes also edged the Spiders at the free throw line, outshooting them 75.8 percent (25-33) to 68.4 percent (13-19).

The victory was the 14th straight at the Convo for the Dukes, and the 11-point margin marks the fourth double-digit win in seven games this season for JMU.

Madison returns to action Sunday on the road against Davidson in North Carolina. The Dukes tip off against the Wildcats at 2 p.m.