#39 James Madison Women's Basketball 2016-2017 Preview

James Madison Dukes
Overall Rank: #39
Conference Rank: #1 CAA
This is an important season for James Madison. Coach Kenny Brooks took the Virginia Tech job after turning the Dukes into a powerhouse mid-major program. Coach Brooks led the team to 11 straight WNIT or NCAA appearances dating back to the 2005-2006 season. Sean O’Regan was an assistant coach under Brooks for most of those years and he will now take over the head coaching duties. With the dominating backcourt trio of Jazmon Gwathmey, Ashley Perez and Angela Mickens gone, it is not just the coaching staff that will look different in 2016-2017.
2015-16 Record: 27-6, 17-1
2015-16 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Sean O’Regan
Coach Record: 0-0 at James Madison, 0-0 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Jazmon Gwathmey, Guard, 20.7 ppg
Angela Mickens, Guard, 11.0 ppg
Ashley Perez, Guard, 14.4 ppg
Destiny Jones, Forward, 3.6 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Da’Lishia Griffin, Senior, Forward, 6.6 ppg
Kayla Cooper-Williams, Sophomore, Center, 5.8 ppg
Hailee Barron, Junior, Guard, 5.3 ppg
Savannah Felgemacher, Sophomore, Forward, 3.1 ppg
Logan Reynolds, Sophomore, Guard, 2.0 ppg
Tasia Butler, Junior, Forward, 1.8 ppg
Aneah Young, Sophomore, Guard, 1.0 ppg
Precious Hall, Senior, Guard, injured last season
Key New Players
Lexie Barrier, Freshman, Guard
Kelly Koshuta, Sophomore, Transfer from Virginia Tech, not eligible this season
Devon Merritt, Freshman, Forward
Amber Porter, Junior, Forward, Transfer from Stetson
Kamiah Smalls, Freshman, Guard
It might look bad for James Madison without those three key players, but there is talent that has been waiting on the bench, some very good newcomers and a former CAA Player of the Year back from injury. Da’Lishia Griffin and Kayla Cooper-Williams are the returning starters who will be asked to do more scoring from the frontcourt this year. Players like Hailee Barron, Savannah Felgemacher and Logan Reynolds gained valuable experience last season and are ready for more minutes. Barron in particular can be a big time scorer if her outside shots start falling more consistently. The newcomers include Stetson transfer Amber Porter and incoming freshman Lexie Barrier. Porter, a 6-3 junior, had a couple great seasons with the Hatters. Cooper-Williams is a very good shot blocker, but Porter is even better. She is also versatile enough to play the power forward spot if Coach O’Regan wants to have a very big lineup with Cooper-Williams and Porter on the floor at the same time. But the best news for JMU is that Precious Hall is back after missing last year with an injury. Two years ago Hall averaged 20.8 points and hit 99 three-pointers. She will take this team back to the NCAA Tournament and losing three starters in the backcourt is not that big of a deal with Hall back in the mix.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.4 (79th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 55.4 (23, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 38.1 (244, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 35.0 (14, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.7 (66, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 30.7 (191, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.0 (163, 6)
Rebound Margin: 9.9 (15, 1)
Assists Per Game: 12.4 (206, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.2 (29, 2)
Madness 2016 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#123 Lexie Barrier