#26 James Madison Women's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

James Madison Dukes

Overall Rank: #26
Conference Rank: #1 CAA

#26 James Madison Women's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

James Madison Team Page


The James Madison Dukes continued to move upward as an emerging mid-major powerhouse in women’s college basketball last season by making it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The win over Gonzaga in the first round was the first for the program in the NCAA Tournament since 1991. The Dukes will have to replace CAA Player of the Year Kirby Burkholder, which will not be easy. However, Coach Kenny Brooks has established a culture of an enduring program that will take on anybody and give them a great battle.

2013-14 Record: 29-6, 15-1
2013-14 Postseason: NCAA
Coach:  Kenny Brooks
Coach Record: 282-112  at James Madison, 282-112 overall

James Madison last season was pretty balanced at both ends of the floor. They were one of the better teams in the nation in regard to scoring margin as they outscored teams by nearly 20 points per game. The backcourt will be very key for the Dukes once again this season. Junior guard Precious Hall is the leading returning scorer with 13.5 points per game last season. Hall also is the leading returning three-point shooter and made 57 from behind the arc. Redshirt Junior Jazmon Gwathmey will compliment Hall. Gwathmey is one of the better defensive players in the CAA and can score too, averaging 10 points per game last season. Along the inside the senior leadership and skill of Toia Giggetts is going to be a huge asset for James Madison. Giggetts averaged 13. 2 points per game and was a force on the glass as she collected just under six rebounds per contest last season. The ability to have that balance between the perimeter and down low makes it difficult for teams to defend the Dukes. Also, defensively James Madison is outstanding as they limited teams to just over 34 percent shooting from the floor, which was among  the nations best in 2013-2014.

 It is going to be important to find additional perimeter threats to compliment Hall. Junior guard Angela Mickens could very well break into the starting line up and develop into more of a outside scoring threat. The other big point of emphasis I would suspect for the Dukes is going to be cutting down turnovers and staying out of foul trouble when they play teams like UCLA, Maryland, and Vanderbilt. The inability to stay out of trouble early against Texas A&M in the second round of the NCAA Tournament hurt them greatly as James Madison could not slow down Karla Gilbert and the Aggies inside.

Final Projection:
The schedule will have the Dukes battle tested throughout the course of the entire season. The tests will start right away on November 14th when UCLA visits Harrisonburg to take on James Madison in what will be one one of the better games in the opening few days of the season. The Dukes will also get a shot at Maryland on a neutral floor on November 28th and travel to Vanderbilt on December 29th. In conference play, the one team that knocked off James Madison was College of Charleston and that shot at redemption will take place on January 25th. Overall, if this team stays healthy they have plenty of experience returning in spite of the loss of Kirby Burkholder to get back to the NCAA Tournament and be one of those dangerous 9, 10 or 11 seeds that can pull of another upset in the first round.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament

Projected Starting Five:
Jazmon Gwathmey, Redshirt Junior, Guard, 10.0 points per game
Precious Hall, Junior, Guard, 13.5  points per game
Angela Mickens, Junior, Guard, 4.3 points per game
Toia Giggetts, Senior, Forward, 13.2 points per game
Lauren Okafor, Redshirt Senior, Center, 5.2 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.9  (46th in nation, 1st  in conference)
Scoring Defense: 55.9 (10, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.6 (73, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 34.8 (7, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.1 (103, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.1 (96, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.5 (36, 1)
Rebound Margin: 10.2 (8, 1)
Assists Per Game: 15.3 (58, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.8 (93, 2)


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