HARRISONBURG, Va., -- The James Madison women's basketball team got closer to #20/23 Delaware than any other Colonial Athletic Association team this season, but the Dukes saw their winning streak end at eight games with a 71-64 loss to the Blue Hens Sunday afternoon at the JMU Convocation Center.
The defending CAA champion Blue Hens held on to first place in the CAA as Delaware improved to 20-3 overall and 11-0 in league play. The Hens won their 15th straight game, but the seven-point margin was the closest for Delaware in a CAA game this season.
JMU's overall record is now 15-8 and its CAA mark is 9-2. The Dukes are in second place in the league standings, but whether they continue to hold that place alone depends on the outcome of a later game Sunday when Drexel (8-2) hosts Old Dominion.
Attendance for the game was a season-high 3,787. That's the second-highest attendance ever for a JMU women's basketball regular-season game outside of the Duke Dog Reading Program promotional games. The highest attendance was 5,046 vs. Maryland on Dec. 20, 2007.
The game's scoring and rebounding leader was JMU junior guard Kirby Burkholder (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby), who had her fifth double-double of the season with 24 points and 13 rebounds.
Dukes senior guard Tarik Hislop (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch) added 17 points and was the only other JMU player to score in double figures.
Senior All-American and national player of the year candidate forward/guard Elena Delle Donne (Wilmington, Del./Ursuline Academy) led the Blue Hens with 20 points and 10 rebounds, and she finished the game as the fourth player in the last five years to break the CAA scoring record. Her 2,677 points pushed her past JMU's Dawn Evans ('11), who held the former CAA mark of 2,667.
Also in double figures for Delaware was senior guard Lauren Carra (Dunmore, Pa./Dunmore), who scored 19 points and hit 8-of-11 shots from the field, and senior guard Trumae Lucas (Greensboro, N.C./Grimsley) with 12.
There were five lead changes and five ties in the opening half, but the Blue Hens finished off the period by outscoring JMU 6-3 in the final 1:20 to take a 37-34 advantage into intermission.
Leading 41-39 at the 18:31 mark of the second half, Delaware used an 8-2 run to pull out to its biggest lead of the day, 49-41 at 16:03. Delle Donne scored four of those eight, and her layup at 16:31 gave her the CAA career points record.
The Dukes were able to pull within two points on five occasions after that, the last at 65-63 with 2:56 to play. However, Delaware held JMU to a single point the rest of the way while scoring six points, four by Delle Donne on two free throws at 2:28 and on a baseline jumper as the shot clock expired with 26.6 seconds to go. During that span JMU was 0-for-5 from the field and got its only points on a free throw by Burkholder with 17.7 seconds to play.