ESTERO, Fla., Nov. 30, 2013 – The James Madison women’s basketball team suffered its first loss of the season, 65-52, to Mississippi State in the semifinal round of the Gulf Coast Showcase at Germain Arena on Saturday night.
The Dukes, now 5-1 on the year, face Wright State in the third-place game Sunday, Dec. 1, at 2:30 p.m. The Bulldogs, now 7-0 this season, take on Middle Tennessee State for the Gulf Coast Showcase championship at 5 p.m.
Junior Toia Giggetts (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor) led the Dukes with a season-high 16 points, including 12 in the second half. Redshirt sophomore Jazmon Gwathmey (Bealeton, Va./Liberty H.S.) added a season-high 13 points, with an 8-for-8 performance at the free-throw line, and a block for JMU. As a team, the Dukes shot 29.1 percent from the field and went 1-for-11 from beyond the arc. Gwathmey accounted for the lone triple in the final minute of play.
For Mississippi State, Martha Alwal tallied a game-high 19 points with eight rebounds and four blocks. Kendra Grant notched 16 points and Katia May posted 14 points with six assists and six steals. Overall, the Bulldogs sank 46.7 percent of their shots from the field.
After the Dukes scored the first basket of the game, the Bulldogs went on a 14-0 run to build a 12-point lead. JMU went scoreless for the 5:32 span after its initial points before a pair of free throws from Gwathmey stopped the run. Mississippi State shot 52.2 percent from the floor in the first half, including a 2-of-2 showing from 3-point range, and converted 12 Dukes’ turnovers into 11 points. JMU shot just 29.2 percent from the floor and went 0-5 from beyond the arc.
In the second half, JMU closed the gap to as few as nine points with 13:41 remaining in the game. The Bulldogs responded, however, with a 6-0 run to regain a 15-point advantage (51-36) with 11:42 to go. They would push their lead to as many as 19 points at the 2:32 mark of the second half.
Madison held the rebound advantage 38-33 with a 19-12 edge on the offensive glass. While Mississippi State attempted 31 free throws to JMU’s 21 attempts, the Bulldogs sank just 67.7 percent of their shots from the charity stripe (21-31) while the Dukes sank 90.5 percent of their attempts (19-21).
JMU wraps up the Gulf Coast Showcase on Sunday, Dec. 1, against Wright State. Tip-off for the third-place game is set for 2:30 p.m. at Germain Arena in Estero, Fla.