James Madison women’s basketball scored the game’s first 21 points and held Towson without a basket until the 8:53 mark of the first half on its way to a dominating 82-40 win at the Convocation Center Sunday afternoon.
JMU won its ninth-straight to improve to 19-4 overall and 9-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association. Towson saw its two-game winning streak halted and fell to 11-12 overall and 5-5 in the league.
Junior forward Toia Giggetts (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor) poured in a career-high 26 points on 11-for-17 shooting from the field. She added nine rebounds, a block and a steal in 27 minutes of action. Senior guard Kirby Burkholder (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) had a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds to go with four assists, three steals and a block while redshirt sophomore guard Jazmon Gwathmey (Bealeton, Va./Liberty) had 14 points, five rebounds and three steals.
Towson was paced by guard Tanisha McTiller with 19 points and five rebounds, but the senior also turned the ball over nine times. Forward LaTorri Hines-Allen contributed 11 points and six rebounds and Alaysia Mitchell chipped in four points and six boards.
The Dukes opened the game on a 21-0 run and scored 25 of the game’s first 26 points. Towson’s first point came on a free throw by McTiller with 12 minutes remaining in the half. McTiller added the team’s first basket at the 8:53 mark to cut the JMU lead to 25-3. The Dukes’ lead never shrunk below 21 points the remainder of the game as they followed TU’s first made basket with another 15-2 run. The Tigers did not reach double digits until the 1:01 mark of the opening period on a layup by Mitchell.
Madison played suffocating first-half defense, holding Towson to 15-percent shooting (4-for-26). The Dukes forced their opponent into 12 turnovers and blocked five shots.
With her 16 points, Burkholder moved into 10th on JMU’s all-time scoring list with 1,421 points. She passed Sydney Beasley’s (1983-85, 86-88) mark of 1,412 points. Gwathmey moved into 10th on the program’s block list with her 77th while redshirt senior forward Nikki Newman (Harrisonburg, Va./Turner Ashby) passed Dawn Evans (2007-11) for 10th on the all-time steals list.
Newman finished the game with six points, seven assists, four rebounds, two blocks and a steal. She was part of a crew that forced Towson into 22 turnovers while Madison committed seven. The Dukes outscored the Tigers 27-4 off turnovers and 34-22 in the paint. They also outrebounded their opponent 48-42, including a 17-13 edge on the offensive end, leading to a 15-7 lead in second-chance points.
For the game, JMU shot 40.3-percent from the field and held TU to 28.6-percent. Towson did not make a three-point attempt against the CAA’s top defense against the 3-point shot, going 0-for-6 from the field. The Dukes hit on seven of their 21 attempts from downtown and were good for 17 of 22 (77.3-percent) free throws.
Sunday’s win was Head Coach Kenny Brooks’ 150th career win at the Convocation Center as he improved to 150-28 (.843) there all-time. The game was played in front of a season-high 4,589 fans.
JMU concludes its three-game home stand next Thursday, as it welcomes UNCW to the Convocation Center for a 7 p.m. contest.