FAIRFAX, Va., Jan. 24, 2013 -- The James Madison women's basketball team posted its fourth straight victory as the Dukes won easily, 71-55, at George Mason in Colonial Athletic Association play Thursday night at the Patriot Center.
The Dukes (11-7, 5-1) won for the eighth time in their last nine games. The Patriots (6-11, 1-5) lost for the sixth time in their last seven contests.
Four Dukes scored in double figures, with freshman guard Precious Hall (Tallahassee, Fla./Maclay) and junior guard Kirby Burkholder (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) each contributing 20. It was a career scoring high for Hall, who also had a career-high and JMU freshman-record seven steals. Burkholder led JMU with seven rebounds, and Hall finished with six rebounds.
Senior guard Tarik Hislop (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch) scored 11 points and handed out a team-high six assists, and redshirt senior forward Kanita Shepherd (Garner, N.C./Garner Magnet) was 5-for-7 from the field, scoring a season-high 10 points.
The Patriots were led by Rahneeka Saunders, who had team highs of 14 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals.
JMU was down 19-15 with 4:47 left in the first half. The Dukes, however, put the game away by outscoring Mason 37-9 over the final 3:48 of the first half and the opening 6:03 of the second half. That gave JMU its largest lead of the night, 52-28, with 13:57 to play. In that span of 9:51 JMU went 13-for-15 from the field, including 6-for-6 from 3-point range.
* Precious Hall's seven steals were a season high for a JMU player this year. Her JMU freshman-record total beat the former mark of six, which was shared by four players: Sandy Broughton in 1984-85, Donna Budd in 1985-86, Mistiza Colebank in 1985-86 and Kia Cole in 1997-98.
* Kirby Burkholder was 4-for-5 from 3-point range, increasing her career 3-point total to 143. She moved into sixth place on JMU's all-time 3-point list, passing Tamera Young ('08, 142).
* JMU shot 58.3 percent (7-12) from 3-point range. It's the fourth time this season the Dukes have shot 50 percent or better from beyond the arc.
* JMU nailed its first four field goal attempts, all 3-pointers, in the opening 3:39 of the second half. Burkholder hit the first 3 and Hall knocked down the next three 3's.