HARRISONBURG, Va., Feb. 15, 2012 -- It can be fuchsia or salmon or magenta or peach, apricot or lavender or rose-colored, or just plain pink. But whatever shade you prefer, be sure to wear something in that color to the James Madison-North Carolina Wilmington women's basketball game on Thursday, Feb. 16 (7 p.m.) at the JMU Convocation Center.
Thursday's game, presented by nTelos, is the annual Play4Kay game. Play 4Kay is an opportunity for a nation of coaches to raise breast cancer awareness and funds for research on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond. The official charity is the Kay Yow Cancer Fund in partnership with The V Foundation and Women's Basketball Coaches Association.
Click here to donate to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund on behalf of the JMU Dukes.
Related activities Thursday evening include a health fair on the Convocation Center concourse near entrance E and a recognition of breast cancer survivors at halftime. Participating organizations in the health fair include the Women's Center, American Cancer Society, Relay for Life, Colleges against Cancer, Reach for Recovery, and Image Recovery.
Thursday's game marks the only time that JMU and UNCW face each other in regular-season play this year, and in last year's meeting the Dukes escaped with a two-point win. The teams are in the upper echelon of the Colonial Athletic Association standings, with the Dukes in second place and UNCW tied for fourth place.
CAA Standings (through Feb. 15)
1. Delaware, 13-0
2. James Madison, 10-3
3. Hofstra, 9-4
4. Drexel, 8-5
UNC Wilmington, 8-5
6. VCU, 7-6
7. George Mason, 6-7
Old Dominion, 6-7
10. Northeastern, 2-11
William and Mary, 2-11
12. Georgia State, 1-12
GAME 25: JMU vs. North Carolina-Wilmington
When: Thursday, Feb. 16, 7 p.m.
Where: JMU Convocation Center (capacity 7,156), Harrisonburg, Va.
Audio: WHBG ESPN 1360 AM, Harrisonburg, Va. | MadiZONE on JMUSports.com
Video: MadiZONE subscriber video
About UNCW: Located in Wilmington, N.C.... enrollment 13,071.
Home Court: Trask Coliseum (capacity 6,000)
Conference Affiliation: CAA member... picked to finish seventh in 2012.
Coach: Cynthia Cooper-Dyke (Prairie View A&M '05), 39-18 in two UNCW seasons and 124-90 in eight career seasons
Record: 15-9 overall, 8-5 CAA ... CAA wins at home over Northeastern (60-53), George Mason (61-53), VCU (57-56), William and Mary (80-77) and on the road at ODU (76-54) Northeastern (69-64), Towson (76-61) and Georgia State (72-69)... CAA losses at home to Drexel (58-43), Delaware (62-53) and ODU (59-57) and on the road at VCU (65-53) and Delaware (69-37).
Players to Watch:
Alisha Andrews... 5-2 sophomore guard... preseason All-CAA Second Team... 2011 CAA All-Rookie Team and All-Defensive Team... team-high 13.0 ppg, team-high 4.7 assists per game, team-high 2.9 steals per game (No. 2 in CAA and No. 25 in NCAA).
Tawanna Lee... 5-6 junior guard... 9.9 ppg
Karneshia Garrett... 6-2 junior forward... team-high 7.0 rpg
Of Note: UNCW coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke has an amazing resume, including: CAA Coach of the Year in 2011, when she guided UNCW to a school-record 24 victories; Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame 2010 inductee; 1988 gold-medalist at Seoul Olympics; 1997 and 1998 Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) Most Valuable Player; four consecutive WNBA championships (1997-00) with the Houston Comets; 1983 and 1984 NCAA championships at Southern California.
Coach: Kenny Brooks (JMU '92), 217-92 in 10 JMU & career seasons
Record: 19-5 overall, 10-3 CAA | Complete Results
Players to Watch:
Tarik Hislop... 5-7 junior guard... team-high 14.7 ppg, team-high 3.7 assists per game... preseason All-CAA Second Team... dubbed "rising star" by the Richmond Times-Dispatch
Kirby Burkholder... 6-0 sophomore guard... 10.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg, team-high 2.1 steals per game
Lauren Whitehurst... 6-2 redshirt-senior center... 8.6 ppg, team-high 7.5 rpg, team-high 1.5 blocks per game
Nikki Newman... 6-2 junior forward... 7.2 rpg
Jasmine Gill... 6-1 redshirt-junior guard... 10.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg... preseason All-CAA Honorable Mention
Of Note: JMU has won its last four games by a total of 12 points... the Dukes recorded their 10th win on an opponent's court with its Feb. 12 victory at VCU... the school record is 11, by the 1986-87 (Shelia Moorman) and 2006-07 (Kenny Brooks) teams.
Nikki Newman reached the 500-rebound career mark Feb. 9 at Drexel. Her current career total is 518, which places her 29th all-time at JMU.
Drexel attempted two free throws and made one in its Feb. 9 loss to JMU. That ties the JMU opponent records for fewest free throws made and attempted.
Tarik Hislop's game-winning basket in the victory at VCU was her second game-winning score in the last four games. She also had the game-winning basket Feb. 1 at ODU. Hislop also scored the game-tying basket in regulation to force overtime in the Feb. 9 win at Drexel. In the Drexel game she scored six of JMU's last seven points in overtime to seal the win.
The Dukes are one victory away from reaching their seventh consecutive 20-win season. JMU has had 16 20-win seasons in the program's history, all occurring in the last 33 years.
Senior Kanita Shepherd was in uniform for the first time this season for the Dukes' Feb. 12 game at VCU. It was Shepherd's first game in uniform since the Dec. 12, 2010 game at Middle Tennessee State. Shepherd has not been available to play since then, after suffering an injury in Dec. 2010.
Last Time Out: Tarik Hislop's 12-foot jumper with 1:09 left lifted the Dukes to a 65-64 win at VCU on Sunday afternoon at the Siegel Center.
The Dukes won their fourth in a row and maintained sole possession of second place in the CAA with an 11-3 record.
Hislop, who tied her season high with seven assists, finished with 12 points and was one of four Dukes to score in double figures. Kirby Burkholder led JMU with 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor, including 3-of-6 from three-point range. Lauren Whitehurst added 13 on 6-of-12 shooting, and Kiara Francisco added 10 points off the bench on 4-for-8 shooting. Nikki Newman led the Dukes with nine rebounds.
VCU senior forward Courtney Hurt led all players with 17 points and 19 rebounds. Redshirt senior guard Andrea Barbour was the only other Ram scoring in double figures with 16.
The game had 14 lead changes and three ties, and the lead changed hands eight times in the final nine minutes.
After Hislop hit a 15-foot jumper at 2:20 to give JMU a 63-60 advantage, VCU reclaimed the lead when Chelsea Snyder scored on a short jumper at 2:01 and Robyn Parks hit a layup at 1:26, putting the Rams up 64-63.
Following Hislop's jumper that put JMU ahead 65-64, a 10-foot baseline jumper by Snyder hit the rim, and Newman grabbed the rebound with 35.6 seconds left. JMU used up most of the 30-second shot clock before a Hislop 3-point attempt missed and was rebounded by Barbour. The Rams failed to get a shot off before time expired.
JMU leads the series 48-9, but UNCW has won two of the last five meetings... the last five regular-season meetings have been decided by an average of 5.4 points.
Last Season's Meeting
March 2, 2011: JMU 79, UNCW 77
JMU senior Lauren Jimenez scored a career-high 31 points to lead JMU to a thrilling 79-77 victory over UNCW on Senior Night at the JMU Convocation Center.
In the victory, in which the Dukes clinched the No. 1 seed for the CAA Tournament, JMU's Dawn Evans became the CAA's all-time scoring leader and JMU won its 12th straight home game.
Evans, who scored 18 points, drained a 3-pointer with 5:25 remaining in the second half to give her 2,583 career points. That surpassed the previous record of 2,581 set by Drexel's Gabriela Marginean last season. Evans' career total now stands at 2,589.
JMU clinched the top seed for the conference tournament for the first time since 1995.
Jimenez played a pivotal role in the win in which her career-high 31 points was eight better than her previous best. She shot 10-of-18 from the field and made 11-of-12 free throws.
The game remained tight in the early going, but the Seahawks took a 28-19 lead with 2:09 to play in the first after reeling off seven straight points in a span of 4:14. JMU closed the gap to four at half, heading into the locker room down 32-28.
In the second half the teams went back and forth as the game was tied eight times in the first 10 minutes. With the game tied at 61, Evans' 3-pointer to break the all-time scoring record gave JMU a 64-61 advantage with 5:25 to play.
The Dukes grabbed their largest lead of the contest at 68-63 with 4:11 to go after Lauren Whitehurst got the offensive rebound of an Evans miss and made the layup off the glass.
UNCW's Alisha Andrews hit a pair of 3-pointers over the next 56 seconds that brought the Seahawks to within one point at 70-69.
JMU's Tarik Hislop responded with a three of her own on the next possession to put the lead back to four at 73-69 with 2:45 left.
With the Dukes leading 74-71, Andrews struck again, hitting her fourth trey to tie the game at 74 with 1:59 on the clock, but JMU took the lead for good when Evans was fouled on a made layup with 1:22 to go. She completed the 3-point play with a free throw and Jimenez hit a pair from the charity stripe with 45.8 seconds left to put JMU up 79-74.
Andrews made yet again another 3-pointer with 36.0 seconds left to cut the lead to 79-77. After a missed trey by Evans with five seconds to go, Andrews had one last chance before the buzzer, but her half-court prayer missed way off the mark to give JMU the victory.
Hislop and Courtney Hamner also scored in double figures with 15 and 12 points, respectively.