#38 James Madison Women's Basketball 2012-13 Preview

James Madison Dukes

Overall Rank: #38
Conference Rank: #2 Colonial
James Madison Women's College Basketball 2012-2013 Team Preview
James Madison Team Page


James Madison was on the cusp of the NCAA Tournament last year, but ended up in the NIT instead. However, they made a great run to the NIT championship game and that should propel the Dukes to their tournament of choice in 2013. Coach Kenny Brooks has done an amazing job with this program and with four starters returning, the Dukes are poised to be right back on the bubble. This time they may end up on the right side of it.

2011-12 Record: 29-8, 14-4
2011-12 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Kenny Brooks
Coach Record: 227-95 at James Madison, 227-95 overall

The James Madison backcourt is loaded with talent. Tarik Hislop is the senior leader who led the Dukes with 14.8 points and 3.5 assists during the 2011-2012 campaign. Hislop does a superb job attacking the basket and pulling up for the mid-range jumper, but she is not much of a shooter. If she can add a little more consistency to her three-point shot, the opposition will have an even tougher time defending her. Kirby Burkholder is pretty much the only proven and consistent shooter on the team. She knocked down 2.4 three-pointers per game last season and averaged 11.5 points. On the other end of the floor, the 6-0 junior will use her quickness and length to get in the passing lanes and nab a couple steals per game. She is also a superb rebounder and averaged 6.9 per contest. At 6-1, Jasmine Gill is another big guard who can help out on the glass. Unlike Burkholder, Gill does most of her scoring inside the arc. Add wing Nikki Newman to the mix and the Dukes practically start four guards. However, Newman is 6-2 and few teams anywhere can match the size James Madison sports on the perimeter. Newman started 36 games last year and led the team with 7.8 rebounds per contest. But she really is a wing and can handle the ball amazingly well for a player her size.

The forward surrounded by all of those big guards was Lauren Whitehurst. During her senior season she averaged 9.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. Having a player who was a consistent scoring threat in the paint was very important for this team. She shot 49.5 percent from the floor and no other major contributor eclipsed the 40 percent mark. The team as a whole shot just 36.7 percent from the floor, ranking 263rd in the nation. That number could get even worse if nobody is capable of replacing Whitehurst and the big guards spend a little too much time throwing up three-pointers instead of attacking the basket. But Coach Brooks does have options. Toia Gigetts had a very promising freshman campaign and will be expected to step into Whitehurst’s role. Gigetts may be shorter than some of the wings, but she will stay in the paint and be a tough defender. Crystal Ross and the oft-injured Kanita Shepherd will battle for playing time in the post as well.

Final Projection:
Even if all of the post players do not pan out, James Madison can get frontcourt depth from players like Newman. She is versatile enough to defend most opposing post players and is always a matchup nightmare. She can get around bigger, slower defenders or power past smaller defenders. Freshman Destiny Jones is also a tough power forward who will be given the opportunity to earn quality minutes. Coach Brooks will find the right combination of players for the right situation and he has options. The traditional frontcourt depth may not be there and that could turn into an issue against bigger teams, but in the Colonial Athletic Association, the size of the backcourt will cause a lot of problems for just about every team.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Tarik Hislop, Senior, Guard, 14.8 points per game
Jasmine Gill, Senior, Guard, 9.0 points per game
Kirby Burkholder, Junior, Guard, 11.5 points per game
Nikki Newman, Senior, Guard, 5.8 points per game
Toia Giggetts, Sophomore, Forward, 4.7 points per game

Madness 2012 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#89 Angela Mickens
#116 Destiny Jones