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Merch Madness
Senior Kiara Francisco has made crucial rebounding and scoring plays in the WNIT.Courtesy: Cathy Kushner/JMU Athletics Communications
Women's Basketball Set to Host WNIT Semifinal vs. Syracuse Wednesday
Courtesy:JMUSports.com Release:03/27/2012
HARRISONBURG, Va., March 27, 2012 - Celebrate more March Madness and Madison Madness Wednesday at the JMU Convocation Center when James Madison and Syracuse meet in a 7 p.m. Women's National Invitation Tournament semifinal-round basketball game.

Fan Guide (including tickets, parking, shuttle buses)

WNIT Semifinals
The Teams:
  Syracuse at JMU

  Wednesday, March 28, 7 p.m.
Where:  JMU Convocation Center (capacity 7,156), Harrisonburg, Va.
Audio:  WSVA 550 AM, Harrisonburg, Va. |
MadiZONE on JMUSports.com
MadiZONE subscriber video.  JMU will be producing an HD video stream of the game, including multiple camera angles, commentary, graphics, replay and courtside reporting.
Live Stats

The Winner:  Meets Wednesday's San Diego at Oklahoma State (8 p.m. ET) winner in the WNIT championship game 3 p.m. ET on March 31.

The Series:  The teams have met only once, 18 seasons ago at Syracuse's Manley Field House.  JMU led 25-19 at halftime and held on for a 56-50 win after the Orange played the Dukes even (31-31) in the second half in a Dec. 4, 1993 game in a tournament hosted by the Orange.

Scouting Syracuse

About Syracuse:
  Located in Syracuse, N.Y.... enrollment 21,049.

Conference Affiliation:  Big East Conference member... finished 12th in 2012... top eight teams all went to the NCAA Tournament and four made the WNIT field... beat No. 16 seed Providence (57-47) in the first round of the Big East tournament before falling to No. 5 seed West Virginia (63-48) in the second round.

Coach:  Quentin Hillsman (St. Mary's, Md. '93), 120-79 in six Syracuse and career seasons

Record:  22-14 overall, 6-10 Big East... Common opponents with JMU:  South Florida (Syracuse 76-61 home win on Feb. 4; JMU home WNIT win on March 23) and Drexel (Syracuse 65-43 WNIT win at Drexel on March 19; JMU 1-2 vs. Drexel this season).

WNIT:  An at-large WNIT selection along with Big East members Villanova and Cincinnati (South Florida automatically qualified as the top finisher in the Big East to not advance to the NCAA Tournament).  Results:  Defeated Hartford (59-42) in the first round, Drexel (65-43) in the second round, Temple (82-68) in the round of 16, and Toledo (74-73 OT) in the quarterfinals.

Vs. Ranked Teams:  Seven losses to teams ranked or receiving votes in national polls this season, including current #3 Connecticut and #4 Notre Dame... win at DePaul (#23 in latest AP poll).

Players to Watch
Iasia Hemmingway... 5-11 senior forward... team-high 14.9 ppg... 1,606 career points

Kayla Alexander... 6-4 junior center... 14.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg... team-high 2.6 blocks per game... 1,422 career points

Carmen Tyson-Thomas...5-9 junior guard... 10.9 ppg, team-high 7.8 rpg

Of Note:  Syracuse is in its fourth consecutive WNIT appearance and fifth consecutive postseason appearance (NCAA 2008)... the Orange are 11-3 in WNIT competition including reaching the quarterfinals last year, where Syracuse fell to the eventual WNIT champion Toledo 71-68 in overtime... Syracuse is second in NCAA in rebounding (46.1 avg.).

Scouting JMU

Conference Affiliation:  Colonial Athletic Association member... finished second in 2012... beat No. 7 seed George Mason (64-54) in the quarterfinal round before falling to No. 3 seed Drexel (67-50) in the tournament semifinals. 

WNIT:  Qualified as the top finisher in the CAA to not advance to the NCAA Tournament (CAA champion Delaware was league's lone representative in NCAAs).  Results:  Defeated Davidson (64-49) in the round of 64, Wake Forest (84-76) in the round of 32, South Florida (72-45) in the round of 16, Virginia (68-59) in the quarterfinals. 

Coach:  Kenny Brooks (JMU '92), 226-94 in 10 JMU and career seasons

Record:  28-7 overall, 14-4 CAA | Complete Results

Players to Watch:
Tarik Hislop
... 5-7 junior guard... team-high 14.8 ppg, team-high 3.5 assists per game... All-CAA Second Team

Kirby Burkholder... 6-0 sophomore guard... 11.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg, team-high 1.8 steals per game... All-CAA Third Team... averaging 18.0 ppg in the WNIT

Lauren Whitehurst... 6-2 redshirt-senior center... 9.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg, team-high 1.8 blocks per game... school season blocks record (62)... CAA All-Defensive Team

Nikki Newman... 6-2 junior forward... team-high 7.7 rpg... CAA Defensive Player of the Year

Jasmine Gill... 6-1 redshirt-junior guard... 9.3 ppg ... preseason All-CAA Honorable Mention

Of Note:  This marks the seventh straight year that JMU has won at least 24 games and has advanced to postseason play... JMU's seven consecutive postseason tournament appearances include NCAA tournament games in 2007, 2010 and 2011 and WNIT play in 2006, 2008 and 2009... Dukes ranked fifth in NCAA in field-goal percentage defense (33.4).

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