HARRISONBURG, Va., March 3, 2013 -- Sophomore forward Toia Giggetts (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor) scored a season-high 15 points to pace the James Madison women's basketball team to its 20th win, a 67-56 victory over visiting George Mason, in Colonial Athletic Association play Sunday afternoon at the JMU Convocation Center.
The Dukes improved to 20-9 overall as JMU posted its eighth consecutive 20-win season, a school record. JMU is 14-3 in CAA play and is in second place in the CAA standings behind league-leading Delaware (17-0). JMU will play a third-place (13-4) Drexel team in both teams' regular-season finale at Drexel on March 6, and the winner of that game will earn the number two seed in the league tournament.
Mason's record is 9-19 overall and 4-13 in the CAA.
Giggetts, who did not miss a shot (6-6 FG, 3-3 FT), was one of four Dukes to score in double figures. Junior guard Kirby Burkholder (Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby) turned in her eighth double-double of the season with 14 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Senior guard Tarik Hislop (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch) also scored 14, and redshirt freshman guard Jazmon Gwathmey (Bealeton, Va./Liberty) added 12 points. Burkholder also had four assists and four steals.
Mason redshirt senior forward Joyous Tharrington (Lynchburg, Va./Brookville) scored a game-high and career-high 23 points. Senior guard/forward Amber Easter (Hampton, Va./Bethel) was the only other Patriot to score in double figures as she finished with 15 points. Senior guard Rahneeka Saunders (Washington, D.C./Riverdale Baptist) led Mason with nine rebounds.
The opening half had 10 lead changes, including six in the final six minutes.
JMU led by as many as 10 (18-8 at 12:34) in the opening half, but Mason then outscored the Dukes 16-5 and took a 24-23 lead on a Tharrington jumper with 5:46 left.
JMU held a slim 31-30 lead at halftime, with the final points of the half scored after Burkholder made a steal and a layup with 1:53 left.
The Dukes were able to maintain the advantage over the Patriots the rest of the way.
In the second period the Dukes used a 13-3 run to go up by 11, 48-37, with 12:58 to play. That was JMU's biggest lead to that point.
Mason scored the next six points on a three-point play by Tharrington and a 3-pointer by junior guard Cierra Strickland (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara) to close the margin to five, 48-43, at 12:19.
JMU then outscored Mason 9-1 in a span of 2:09 to lead 57-44 with 8:35 to play. Burkholder led JMU with five of the nine points on a 3-pointer and a run-finishing steal and layup. After that Mason got no closer than eight, the last time 62-54 with 2:47 left.
The game drew a season-high 3,915 fans, the 18th-highest attendance in school history.