JMU roundup: Dukes’ Brooks reaches 300-win mark in road victory

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — Head cach Kenny Brooks became just the second coach in James Madison University women’s basketball history to reach the 300-win mark when the Dukes picked up a 77-68 win at Hofstra on Friday night at the Mack Sports Complex.

JMU improved to 10-0 in Colonial Athletic Association action and 19-2 overall, while Hofstra fell to 6-5 against CAA foes, 13-9 overall. Brooks needs just three wins to become the all-time winningest coach in JMU women’s basketball history with Shelia Moorman currently holding the title with 302 career victories.

The Dukes led by as many as 26 points in the contest, holding a 48-22 lead with 18:40 left in the game. The Pride, however, outscored the Dukes 48-33 in the second half that included an 18-6 Hofstra run to cut the lead to four points (70-66) with 1:44 left to play.

JMU, however, buckled down and scored the final five points of the game to come away with a 77-68 victory. Redshirt-junior guard Jazmon Gwathmey sank the first of two free-throw attempts, but redshirt-senior center Lauren Okafor snagged the offensive board to keep the ball in JMU’s possession. With a new shot clock, junior point guard Angela Mickens found a driving Ashley Perez (junior guard) for the jumper. A pair of free throws by junior guard Precious Hall gave the Dukes a nine-point advantage that withstood the final 40 seconds of the game.

Hall led the Dukes with 23 points, going 8-for-18 from the floor, for her 13th 20+ scoring performance of the season. Mickensadded in 11 points alongside a career-high 11 rebounds for the first point-rebound double-double of her career and her second overall double-double. Mickens added a game-high seven assists while Perez dished out a career-high six assists.

Hofstra was led by Kelly Loftus, who dropped 30 points in the game. Of those 30 points, 28 came in the second half as she sunk six 3-pointers and went 10-for-12 from the free-throw line during the second stanza. Darius Faulk added 15 points for the Pride to round out the double digit scorers.

JMU shot 41.7 percent from the floor (25-of-60) with a 51.7 percent clip (15-of-29) in the first half. All nine Dukes to see action in Friday night’s game scored, with eight scoring at least six points each.
Hofstra finished shooting 30.6 percent from the floor (22-of-72), including 42.4 percent (14-of-33) in the second half.

The Pride’s only lead of the game came 3:07 after tip-off, a three-point advantage (7-4) courtesy of a Krystal Luciano 3-pointer. The Dukes followed with a 32-7 run, including a 22-2 stretch that left Hofstra without a field goal for 9:34 of the half and allowed Madison to push the advantage to 22 points (36-14, 4:22).

The Dukes have a quick turnaround as they travel to Philadelphia, Pa., for a Sunday matinee game at Drexel. Action between the Dukes and Dragons begins at 2 p.m. with JMU holding the season series 1-0 after a 66-51 win at home on Jan. 18.

Women’s basketball

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — James Madison University junior point guard Angela Mickens has been named to the Nancy Lieberman Award Watch List by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the organization announced Friday.

The honor recognizes the top point guard in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball. The initial watch list includes the top 31 point guards of 2014-15.

Mickens currently ranks fourth nationally in assists per game (7.6) and 14th in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.62). She has dished out 152 assists this season, 11th most in JMU history, to push her career total to 344 assists, also 11th most in JMU history.

This season, Mickens has tallied double-digit assists four times, just the third Duke in program history to do so in a single season. She has assisted on approximately 36.3 percent of her teammates’ field goals while on the floor.

Mickens leads the Dukes in minutes played in 2014-15, spending 35.2 minutes on the floor per contest. She is contributing 7.5 points per game and 3.7 rebounds per game alongside a team-high 2.1 steals per game and 7.6 assists per game.

The Selection Committee for the Nancy Lieberman Award is composed of top women’s college basketball personnel including media members, head coaches, sports information directors and Hall of Famers. The watch list will be narrowed down to 15 and then five players by mid-March. The winner will be presented with the award at the WBCA Award Show in Tampa, Fla., at the Women’s Final Four.


HARRISONBURG — James Madison junior pitcher Jailyn Ford, who is coming off one of the best individual seasons in James Madison softball history a year ago, earned another preseason distinction Thursday afternoon, as she was named an espnW Preseason Second Team All-American.

This comes a week following her being tabbed to the Top 50 “Watch List” for the 2015 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award.

Last season, Ford became JMU’s first-ever softball All-American after a stellar sophomore season, which led to JMU’s best team finish at 45-15, Colonial Athletic Association regular-season and tournament titles and a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season.

She was tabbed a National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-America Second Team selection in 2014 after going 24-7 with a 1.26 ERA, 233 strikeouts, 21 complete games, nine shutouts and four saves in 228.2 innings pitched. She set or tied JMU single-season records for wins, shutouts, saves, innings pitched and strikeouts.

Ford also hit .268 at the plate with a team-best nine home runs and 26 runs scored. She broke the program record with 34 walks while also hitting nine doubles and stealing nine bases. Aside from being an All-American, she was also recognized as the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) Player of the Year for the second straight year, named the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Pitcher of the Year and earned CAA Pitcher of the Year accolades. She was also tabbed to the NFCA Division I All-Northeast Region First Team.

A total of 24 student-athletes were recognized by espnW and Ford was one of only three players to make the list from a university in a non-power conference. The two others, catcher Lexie Elkins and pitcher Christina Hamilton, both hail from Louisiana-Lafayette.

JMU opens its season Feb. 13 in Jacksonville, Fla., when it faces Virginia Tech at the Osprey Invitational, hosted by the University of North Florida.