Redshirt sophomore Jazmon Gwathmey (Bealeton, Va./Liberty) scored a game-high 17 points to lead five players in double figures as the James Madison women’s basketball team rolled past UNCW 77-41 at Trask Coliseum in Wilmington, N.C., Sunday.
JMU tied its season-long streak with its fifth straight win, improving to 15-4 overall and 5-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association. UNCW saw its two-game winning streak snapped, falling to 3-16 and 2-4 in the league.
Gwathmey’s 17 points tied her career-high set last season against Towson (Feb. 21, 2013) as she shot 7-for-13 from the field. She added six rebounds, a steal and an assist. Senior guard Kirby Burkholder (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) scored 13 points, on 5-for-8 shooting, to go with eight rebounds and two assists. Sophomore guard Precious Hall (Tallahassee, Fla./Maclay School) chipped in 13 points while junior forward Toia Giggetts (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor) and freshman forward Da’Lishia Griffin (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) contributed 10 points and seven rebounds apiece.
For Griffin it was her first career double-digit effort as she connected on all three of her shots from the field and pulled in five offensive rebounds.
The Seahawks were led by guard Kelva Atkins with 12 points, adding six rebounds and four steals. She scored 12 of her team’s 21 points in the first half, hitting on five of her seven shot attempts. D’Asia Cain chipped in 9 points and three rounds while Ryan Flowers and Brie Mobley had four points and six boards apiece.
JMU took control of the game early on as it built a 9-2 advantage in the game’s first 5:26 with six points coming from Giggetts. Madison followed that run with another 12-4 stretch to push the lead to 15 at 21-6. UNCW never got closer than 13 points the rest of the way as the lead ballooned to as much as 21 before closing the half with the Dukes up by 18.
JMU hit on 55.2 percent of its shots during the opening stanza, including a 4-for-9 mark from 3-point range. The Dukes led 22-12 on points in the paint and 8-7 on second-chance points. Wilmington did a third of its damage from the free throw line as it went 7-12 from the charity stripe.
The second half saw JMU open with a 14-3 run, including eight points from Gwathmey. The Seahawks hit on just one basket during the opening five minutes of play and trailed by 29 at the first media timeout. The lead remained in the 20s for much of the second half, never falling below 25 and grew to as much as 38 points twice.
Madison dominated the paint, outscoring UNCW 44-22 on points in the paint and had a 42-31 advantage in rebounding. The Dukes pulled in 16 offensive rebounds for 15 second chance points to 13 offensive boards and 12 points for the Seahawks. JMU’s bench contributed 18 points while Wilmington received 11 points from its bench.
JMU shot 48.4 percent from the field, including hitting on six of 16 3-point attempts. UNCW shot 28.8 for the game and 0-for-9 from three. Redshirt senior Nikki Newman (Harrisonburg, Va./Turner Ashby) and Giggetts combined for eight of JMU’s 14 assists while the Dukes’ defense limited the Seahawks to three assists for the game.
The Dukes won their sixth straight in the serious with the Seahawks and improved to 52-9 all-time against them.
The 36-point victory was tied for the third-largest margin for the Dukes this season and tied for the largest in CAA play. UNCW’s 41 points was the second-fewest Madison has given up this year and the least a conference opponent has scored.
JMU returns to action next Friday as it welcomes the College of Charleston to the Convocation Center for their first visit as a CAA opponent.