#36 James Madison Women's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

James Madison Dukes

Overall Rank: #36
Conference Rank: #1 CAA
#36 James Madison Women's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview
James Madison Team Page


During the 2014-15 season James Madison once again caused plenty of havoc at both ends of the court with their exciting brand of basketball. They made their way back to the NCAA Tournament under the direction of head coach Kenny Brooks. However, while still a favorite in the Colonial Athletic Conference, they are going to have a bit more of a challenge to win the conference title after losing Precious Hall to a season ending injury.

2014-15 Record: 29-4, 17-1
2014-15 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kenny Brooks
Coach Record: 310-116 at James Madison, 310-116 overall

Three seniors return in the backcourt for the Dukes and they will have to lead the way offensively to overcome the loss of Precious Hall’s production at both ends of the court. Jazmon Gwathmey and Ashley Perez are the top two returning scorers as both averaged just under ten points per game last season. Angela Mickens is going to compliment Gwathmey and Perez. If she can get her production up to just over ten points per game, that will make a big difference for James Madison this season. This trio of guards will also set the tone defensively as their ability to pressure the basketball and create turnovers will also help make up for Hall’s absence and allow the Dukes to limit opponents to more difficult shots.

There will be some inexperience down in the post with highly regarded recruit Kayla Cooper-Williams and Tasia Butler, a transfer from Syracuse, battling out for the starting center spot. One of the underrated elements of James Madison’s success last season was their ability to rebound the basketball at a high level as they had a rebound margin of plus 9.5 rebounds per game over their opponents. Improvement at the free throw line will also help the Dukes move forward in the postseason as they only shot just over 70 percent from the foul line. With the likelihood of closer games happening this season, this percentage has to improve by a couple of percentage points.

Final Projection:
The non-conference schedule will provide multiple opportunities for James Madison to build up its resume for the selection committee. A return trip to Los Angeles to play at UCLA on November 20th will provide the Dukes with a shot to finish the sweep of the home and home series after beating the Bruins 91-87 in Harrisonburg last November. Then a trip to Florida in the month of December for a neutral site set of games against West Virginia and Baylor will provide a tremendous gauge for Coach Brooks to see where his team truly stands heading into conference play. In conference play, James Madison will have two key matchups with Hofstra first on February 5th in Hempstead and then on February 14th back home in Harrisonburg. The Pride were the only team to defeat James Madison last season in conference play and should be a contender once again to dethrone the Dukes as CAA champions. Injuries are a part of any sport and while the leadership and dynamic play of Precious Hall will be missed, there is plenty of depth and talent that will keep James Madison at the top of the CAA and send them back to the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Jazmon Gwathmey, Senior, Guard, 9.4 points per game
Angela Mickens, Senior, Guard, 7.6 points per game
Ashley Perez, Senior, Guard, 9.4 points per game
Destiny Jones, Senior, Forward, 4.3 points per games
Kayla Cooper-Williams, Freshman, Center, DNP last season

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 75.9 (17th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 60.1 (83, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 41.7 (85, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 36.7 (37, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game:  6.1 (104, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.3 (42, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.2 (133, 3)
Rebound Margin: 9.5 (11, 1)
Assists Per Game: 15.3 (40, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.7 (39, 2)


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