From CAA Reports
UPPER MARLBORO, Md., March 12, 2011 -- Senior guard Dawn Evans led four James Madison players in double-figures with 20 points as the top-seeded Dukes topped fourth-seeded Virginia Commonwealth, 67-57, in the first semifinal contest of the Colonial Athletic Association Women's Basketball Championship Saturday afternoon at The Show Place Arena.
Defending CAA champion JMU (25-7) will be making its fifth title game appearance in the last six years and 14th overall. The Dukes, who have now knocked the Rams out of the CAA Tournament for the third straight year, have won 16 of their last 17 games.
Joining Evans in double-figure points was sophomore guard Tarik Hislop (14), senior guard Courtney Hamner (13) and senior center Lauren Jimenez (11). Jimenez finished the game with her ninth double-double of the season with a game-high 15 rebounds. Senior forward Jalissa Taylor contributed 10 boards for the Dukes.
VCU (19-11) has now dropped seven straight against JMU, including three losses to the Dukes this year. Junior guard Andrea Barbour led the Rams with 20 points, five rebounds and five assists, while junior forward Courtney Hurt posted her NCAA leading 25th double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Barbour scored 14 of her 20 points in the first half to give the Rams a 29-24 halftime lead. Neither team led by more than four during an extremely close first period until a Barbour jumper with eight seconds remaining gave VCU a five-point edge heading into intermission.
The Rams extended their lead to 31-24 on another Barbour jumper just 15 seconds into the second half, but that seven-point advantage was VCU's largest of the contest. JMU tallied the next six points to ignite a 24-4 run which gave the Dukes a 48-35 lead midway through the second half. Evans and Jimenez combined for 15 points during the run.
A Jimenez free throw at the 7:50 mark gave JMU a 51-37 advantage, its largest of the game. VCU rallied though, scoring 11 straight points to cut the Dukes lead to just three (51-48) with 3:45 remaining.
Evans would not be denied, though, scoring nine points in the final 2:31, including going a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line, to help JMU complete the win.
JMU shot just 37.9 percent (22-58) from the field, but held a dominant 52-35 rebounding advantage. VCU shot just 30.3 percent (20-66) and went 3-of-11 from beyond the arc.
JMU will meet #7 Delaware, a 62-47 winner over #3 UNC Wilmington in the second semifinal, at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday.