James Madison women’s basketball outscored Delaware 60-27 in the second half, including shooting 62.5 percent from the field after the break, as it dominated Delaware 87-51 in its Colonial Athletic Association opener at the JMU Convocation Center Sunday afternoon.
JMU won for the third time in its last four games and improved to 11-4 on the season and 1-0 in the CAA. Delaware saw its 44-game conference winning streak come to an end and fell to 10-4 overall and 2-1 in the league.
After heading into halftime with a three-point advantage, the Dukes opened the second stanza on a 12-2 run to extend the lead to 13 points. The teams then traded baskets for the next six minutes before an 11-0 Madison run pushed the lead up to 21 points. The Blue Hens never closed the gap to less than 20 points, eventually falling by 36 points. It was the largest margin of victory for the Dukes in a game against the Blue Hens, surpassing the previous mark of 27 done on Feb. 1, 2004.
Senior guard Kirby Burkholder (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) led all players with a career-high 33 points, including a career-high-tying seven three pointers. She went 7-of-12 from three and hit on 10 of 18 shots from the field, adding five rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal. Redshirt senior forward Nikki Newman (Harrisonburg, Va./Turner Ashby) was all over the floor for Madison with eight points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocks. It was a season-high 11 rebounds for Newman who made her 100th career start in the game.
Guard Erika Brown paced the Delaware offense with 12 points and nine rebounds while center Kelsey Buchanan had 10 points and eight boards. UD shot 31.6 percent from the field with only 18 percent of the tries from the arc hitting home.
The first half was tightly contested with neither team leading by more than eight. With 7:57 left in the opening stanza, Madison led by three before embarking on a 5-0 run over the next 1:06 of game time. Delaware chipped away at the advantage before culminating the half with a layup by Buchanan to send JMU into the break with a three-point lead.
Joining Burkholder in double figures was junior forward Toia Giggetts (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor) with 16 points to go with six rebounds, a block and a steal. Sophomore guard Precious Hall (Tallahassee, Fla./Maclay School) had 16 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals while fellow second-year guard Angela Mickens (Staunton, Va./Robert E. Lee) handed out eight assists to go with zero turnovers.
JMU recorded assists on 24 of 29 made baskets, including 16 of 20 made baskets in the second half. The Dukes outshot the Blue Hens 46 percent to 31.6 and held a 24-8 advantage in assists. UD turned the ball over 20 times, leading to 28 points off turnovers for Madison, to just nine JMU turnovers leading to nine Delaware points. The Blue Hens held a 44-39 advantage on the boards, becoming the first team this season to win the battle of the boards with the Dukes.
JMU returns to the court on Thursday, Jan 16 for a 7 p.m. tilt with Towson at SECU Arena in Towson, Md.