Va., Nov. 9, 2012 -- James Madison junior
guard Kirby Burkholder (Bridgewater,
Va./Turner Ashby) scored a game-high 25 points in a losing effort for the
Dukes' women's basketball team, which dropped its season-opener at Virginia 78-57 Friday night at John
Paul Jones Arena.
Virginia (1-0), which received votes in both the Associated Press and USA Today preseason Top 25 polls, blew open a close game in the final five minutes of the first half.
The Cavaliers closed the half by scoring 18 unanswered points, breaking open a game that was tied at 21 with 5:44 left, and UVa led 39-21 at halftime.
Burkholder scored 15 of JMU's 21 first-half points, all from three-point range, and hit a career-high seven three-pointers in the contest. She was the only Duke to score in double figures.
Virginia shot nearly 54 percent (28-52) from the floor, while JMU connected on only 33 percent (18-55) from the field. The Cavaliers made 16 steals and forced 28 turnovers. That marked the most turnovers for a JMU team since a Nov. 27, 2008 game vs. Eastern Michigan, when the Dukes also committed 28 turnovers.
UVa ouscrored JMU 48-6 in the paint.
Four Cavaliers scored in double figures, led by sophomore forward Sarah Imovbioh, who had a double-double with 21 points and a game-high 10 rebounds in her first college game. She was 8-for-9 from the floor and 5-for-8 at the foul line. Junior guard Ataira Franklin added 20 points, four assists and five steals, while junior guard Kelsey Wolfe and redshirt sophomore forward Sarah Beth Barnett added 10 points apiece.
JMU's Burkholder was 9-for-16 for the game and hit 7-for-13 from three-point range. The Dukes' top rebounders were redshirt senior guard Jasmine Gill (Greensboro, N.C./Page) and redshirt senior forward Kanita Shepherd (Garner, N.C./Garner Magnet), each with six. Shepherd saw her first playing time since Dec. 12, 2010 vs. Middle Tennessee State; she injured her knee in practice later that month.
The Dukes, who had won three of the past four meetings with Virginia, kept it close early, mostly due to Burkholder's outside shooting. There were seven lead changes and four ties in the opening 15 minutes of play.
JMU returns to action on Sunday, when the Dukes host Quinnipiac in a 1 p.m. contest at the JMU Convocation Center.