Wilmington, NORTH CAROLINA – James Madison closed out the first half with a 15-3 run and limited UNCW to 24.1 percent shooting for a 60-39 women's basketball victory in the Colonial Athletic Association opener for both teams Sunday at Trask Coliseum.
The Dukes won their fourth straight to push their record to 7-6 overall and 1-0 in the CAA. The Seahawks lost for the eighth consecutive time and dropped to 1-11 and 0-1.
Junior guard Kirby Burkholder poured In 15 points, including 12 in the first half, to pace the Dukes. Sophomore forward Toia Giggetts chipped in 11 points and redshirt senior guard Jasmine Gill had six points and 12 rebounds.
Senior guard Tawanna Lee was the lone player in double figures for the Seahawks with all but one of her team-high 11 points in the second half. Reserve center Jovana Mandic added 10 rebounds.
It was a cold shooting day for both teams. JMU shot 29.4 percent on 20-of-68 field goals and UNCW went 13-of-54 for 21.4 percent. The two teams combined for 6-of-23 behind the arc.
JMU finished strong in the first half, building a 34-15 advantage, and remained in control the rest of the way, leading by as many as 23 points in the final period. The Dukes set a season high for rebounds by an opponent with 56 caroms, including 26 on the offensive glass.
Burkholder opened the second half with a triple on the left wing and Giggetts made a free throw and shot in traffic to give the Dukes their largest lead, 42-19, with 14:01 left to play.
UNCW scored six straight points to cut the deficit to 53-36 at 4:12, but the Dukes increased the margin once again and finished with their first road win of the season in three tries.
The Dukes converted five of their first seven field goal attempts to race out to a 13-4 lead over the first four minutes of the contest. A post move by Crystal Ross in front of the bucket gave the Dukes a quick nine-point advantage at the 14:57 mark.
After Jessica Freeman stole the ball and sped down for a layup, the lead swelled to 17-6 when Burkholder, who led all scorers with 12 points in the first 20 minutes, made a basket with 12:26 left in the period.
Back-to-back buckets by Mandic and Chelsea McGowen pulled the Seahawks within 19-12 at the seven-minute mark before JMU used an 11-0 run to take control.
Precious Hall started the spurt with a shot on the left elbow and a layup by Ross with 2:08 left in the first half extended the lead to 30-12.
The outburst was part of a 15-3 that gave the Dukes their largest lead of the half at intermission, 34-15. UNCW shot just 25 percent in the opening stanza, making only 7-of-28 attempts.
The Seahawks travel to William & Mary on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. clash with the Tribe at Kaplan Arena. The Dukes open a three-game home stand on Thursday when Drexel visits the JMU Convocation Center for a 7 p.m. tip-off.
GAME NOTES: JMU leads the longtime series with the Seahawks by a 50-9 margin, including four consecutive wins…It UNCW's seventh double digit loss of the season…The 15 points by UNCW in the first half represented a season low for the Seahawks…UNCW had 16 turnovers and JMU finished with 14 miscues…JMU outrebounded UNCW, 56-41…The Seahawks had just five assists…UNCW held Tarik Hislop, JMU's leading scorer at 16.8 ppg, to just seven points on 3-of-16 shooting…Senior forward Karneshia was held scoreless for the first time this season…The Dukes had 20 second-chance points…UNCW's only lead of the game came on the opening basket by Jessica Freeman 45 seconds into the contest…It was Military Appreciation Day at Trask Coliseum, drawing a large contingent of Marines from nearby Camp Lejeune.