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Merch Madness
Kirby Burkholder had a game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds.Courtesy: Cathy Kushner/JMU Athletics Communications
Women's Basketball Tops Virginia 68-59; Dukes Host Syracuse Wednesday in WNIT Semifinals
Courtesy:JMUSports.com Release:03/26/2012

HARRISONBURG, Va., March 25, 2012 -- James Madison outscored Virginia 41-26 in the second half en route to a 68-59 win in National Women's Invitation Tournament quarterfinal-round basketball action Sunday afternoon at the JMU Convocation Center.

JMU, 28-7, advances to a 7 p.m. home March 28 semifinal game against Syracuse, a 74-73 overtime winner over Toledo on Saturday.  Virginia completed its season with a 25-11 record.

TICKETS for March 28 WNIT Semifinal Game vs. Syracuse:
Available in advance or at the door.  Doors open at 6 p.m.  JMU Season Ticket Holders Click Here for Advance Tickets
Ticket Prices:  Reserved $15 | General Admission $12 | Youth, Senior Citizens, JMU Faculty/Staff $10 | JMU Students Free (present JAC card at door E)| Syracuse Students $4
PARKING NOTE/Shuttle Buses:  General admission parking in the Convocation Center lots will have less availability on March 28.  Free fan shuttle buses will run from the Festival parking lots from 5:30 p.m. until one hour after the game.

The WNIT semifinal game is able to be played at the JMU Convocation Center because the Shenandoah Valley Builders Association worked with the university to amend some of the logistics for the upcoming Home and Garden Show, which will be held at the Convocation Center next weekend.  The longstanding event requires extensive advance setup.

"We are thrilled that the Dukes are able to stay at the Convocation Center to host Syracuse for the WNIT semifinals," Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne said. "The Shenandoah Valley Builders Association has been a great partner with JMU over the years, and we really appreciate their working with us to allow us to keep Coach Brooks and the Dukes home for another round. We wanted to make sure that they could still have the great event they always host in the Convo this weekend, and through everyone's hard work, they are going to be able to do that and still allow our women's basketball team another home game. Thanks to all involved for their dedication and efforts in making this happen."

In Sunday's game, Dukes' sophomore guard Kirby Burkholder (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) scored a game-high 20 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers that put JMU ahead to stay, and had 10 rebounds for her first career double-double.  Junior guard Tarik Hislop (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch) scored 17, and redshirt senior forward Lauren Whitehurst (Chesapeake, Va./Indian River) added 14.  Freshman forward Toia Giggetts (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor) had a game-high 12 rebounds.

Virginia got 18 points from senior guard Ariana Moorer (Woodbridge, Va./C.D. Hylton) and 15 from junior guard Lexie Gerson (Fort Washington, Pa./The Peddie School).

Burkholder, who had been sitting on the JMU bench since picking up her fourth foul at 14:06, re-entered the game with 4:12 remaining and the Dukes trailing 55-53.  Her two 3-pointers started a 15-4 scoring run that enabled her team to clinch the win.

In the go-ahead run junior forward Nikki Newman (Harrisonburg, Va./Turner Ashby) found her former high-school teammate in the left corner and delivered a pass to an open Burkholder, who knocked down her first 3-pointer at 4:02 to put the Dukes up 56-55.

After UVa turned the ball over when sophomore guard Ataira Franklin (Bowie, Md./Riverdale Baptist) was called for walking, Newman again found Burkholder, this time in in the right corner near the JMU bench.  She hit another 3 at 3:28 to extend the JMU lead to 59-55.

Virginia was 1-for 8 from the field and committed two turnovers in the final four minutes and got its only points on a foul shot by junior center Simone Egwu (Odenton, Md./Arundel) at 2:50 and a three-point play by Gerson at 1:42.

With the Cavaliers fouling to regain possession in the final minutes, JMU players combined to hit 7-of-8 free throws in the final 2:38, including four by Hislop and two by Whitehurst.  Burkholder also scored on a layup with the shot clock winding down, as she picked up a loose ball on the baseline and weaved through the defense to give JMU a 65-59 lead with 1:00 left.

Game Notes:

First Half

* Virginia scored the opening basket and led by as many as five twice, the last 20-15 at 7:51.
* JMU scored six straight points in a span of 1:15 to take its only lead of the half, 21-20, at 5:52.
* Virginia used a 9-2 run to build a six-point lead, 29-23, at 3:16; Lexie Gerson scored the last four points on two free throws and a layup.

* Back-to-back Virginia scores at 1:05 (a put-back by Jazmin Pitts) and with 40 seconds left (a layup by Ariana Moorer) gave the Cavaliers their biggest lead of the half, 33-25.

* A Tarik Hislop baseline jumper with 9.3 seconds left cut the UVa lead to 33-27 at halftime.

*UVa shot 41.4 percent (12-29) from the field and JMU only 29 percent (9-31).

Second Half
* JMU opened the half with a 10-2 run, with Burkholder scoring six of the Dukes' points, to lead 37-35 at 15:57.
* There were three ties and seven lead changes between 14:37 and 4:32.

And More
* JMU's Nikki Newman tied her season high with six assists.

* The Dukes won their eighth straight home game and remained unbeaten (12-0) in home WNIT (8-0) and/or NCAA (4-0) postseason games.

Post-Game News Conference Excerpts:
Kirby Burkholder, on hitting a 3-pointer after 10 minutes on the bench with four fouls:
"I was ready to get back in the game.  Nikki found me, I was open and I just let it fly."

JMU Coach Kenny Brooks
"This was a game between two very similar teams that rely on their defense and try to muster up some offense."

"The intensity was tremendous.  It's a great game when you have over 3,000 people here, both (school's pep) bands here.  It's one of the most electric atmospheres since I've been here."

"I challenged Kirby at halftime.  (I told her) if you don't' shoot the ball, we can't win this game.  I was really proud of her demeanor (when she re-entered the game late), the way she stepped back in."

"They lost her (Burkholder); they forgot she was in the game, because she sat for 10 minutes.  She got wide-open threes.  As soon as they left her hand I knew they were going in."


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