JMU roundup: Ford, Good earn CAA softball honors

RICHMOND — Two James Madison University softball players were honored by the Colonial Athletic Association for their play during the team’s opening weekend as junior pitcher/utility Jailyn Ford was named CAA Pitcher of the Week while freshman pitcher/infielder Megan Good was tabbed CAA Rookie of the Week, the league office announced Monday.

Ford tossed two complete games, going 1-1 in the circle for the Dukes with a 0.47 ERA in her 15 innings pitched. After taking a 3-2 extra innings loss to Virginia Tech on Feb. 13, Ford came back the following day to shut out Jacksonville State 1-0. She gave up a total of three runs (one earned), eight hits and three walks while striking out 17 batters on opening weekend.

Good hit .333 in her first weekend with the Dukes, going 5-for-15 from the plate. She also hit the team’s first home run of the season, had one double and scored two runs while drawing two walks.

In her pitching role, she went 1-0 in the circle for JMU throwing a complete-game, one hitter in JMU’s 2-0 triumph over Maine on Feb. 14. Good also came on in a relief in two other games, throwing a combined 8.2 innings in her three appearances with a 0.00 ERA. She gave up one hit all weekend and walked just three batters while striking out 17, including 14 in her complete-game shutout win.

The Dukes, who went 3-2 at the Osprey Invitational in Jacksonville, Florida, last weekend, returns to action Feb. 20-22 when they travel down to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for the Easton Bama Bash.

The Dukes will play two televised games against third-ranked Alabama and another versus No. 5 Michigan while taking on Lipscomb twice. JMU’s two games against the Crimson Tide can be seen on ESPN3 and the SEC Network.

Women’s lacrosse

RICHMOND — Senior attacker Stephanie Finley of the James Madison women’s lacrosse team has been named Colonial Athletic Association Co-Player of the Week, the league announced Tuesday.

Finley has tallied eight goals in three games this season, which puts her in a three-way tie for the team lead with redshirt-sophomore Betsy Angel and junior midfielder Jaci Gordon. Additionally, Finley has tallied 11 draw controls, seven ground balls and two assists.

In JMU’s two wins last week, Finley tallied six goals while scoring what turned out to be the game winner on Sunday, Feb. 15, against UConn. Against Virginia Tech last Thursday, Finley collected three ground balls and came away with five draw controls while helping the Dukes to a 13-8 victory. In the home opener against the Huskies, the senior notched three more goals on just four shots while assisting on one goal in JMU’s 15-11 win at University Park. Additionally, she picked up a season-high six draw controls while grabbing two ground balls.

In the season opener against No. 2 North Carolina, Finley scored JMU’s first two goals of the contest and assisted on a goal in the second half during the Dukes upset bid, but the Tar Heels came away with a 13-9 victory in the end.

Finley shared the honor with Hofstra’s Brittain Altomare.

The Dukes return to action Feb. 22 at University Park when they will host High Point. The contest, which is the first meeting all-time between the two programs, is set for 1 p.m.

Women’s basketball

HARRISONBURG — James Madison women’s basketball jumped back into the USA Today Coaches Poll at No. 21, the organization released Tuesday afternoon. The Dukes received 106 votes in the week 15 poll.

The Dukes have been ranked three times in the USA Today Coaches Poll Top 25 this season, placing as high as No. 23 on two occasions prior to week 15. The No. 21 ranking is the highest for the Dukes since a No. 15 placement on April 1, 1991.

On Monday, JMU checked in at No. 23 in the week 15 edition of the Associated Press Top 25 poll, earning 62 points.

JMU had received votes in the last two editions of the AP poll, as well as the first 10 of the season. In the week 14 edition, Madison received nine points and was tied for the 32nd-most votes in the nation with DePaul. This is the Dukes’ first appearance in the AP Top 25 since Dec. 28, 2009, when they were ranked No. 25. It is the highest ranking for the program since being in the No. 22 slot on Feb. 18, 2007.

This season, JMU has been ranked three times in the USA Today Coaches Poll Top 25, placing as high as No. 23 on two occasions prior to week 15. The No. 21 ranking is the highest for the Dukes since a No. 15 placement on April 1, 1991.

The Dukes are 22-2 for just the fourth time in the program’s Division I history with a 13-0 mark in Colonial Athletic Association action. They sit atop the league standings with a four-game lead over second-place Drexel. In the NCAA Women’s Basketball rankings, Madison is rated No. 20.

Recently, junior point guard Angela Mickens and junior guard Precious Hall were both recognized at the national level as Mickens was named to the Lieberman Award Watch List (top D-I point guard) and Hall was named to the Naismith Trophy Women’s Midseason 30 (top national player). Seven of the CAA’s weekly Player of the Week nods have gone to the Dukes, including the most recent being awarded to Mickens on Monday.

This season, JMU has celebrated the program’s 1,000th win (Jan. 6, 74-57 vs. UNCW) as well as Head Coach Kenny Brooks’ 303rd victory (Feb. 15, 94-64 vs. Delaware). Sunday’s win over Delaware made him the all-time winningest coach in program history.

JMU heads south for its next contest, a 7 p.m. tipoff at UNCW on Feb. 19, before returning home to face third-place Hofstra at 2 p.m. on Feb. 22.