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Merch Madness
Senior Kiara Francisco is averaging a career-high 5.1 points for the Dukes.Courtesy: Cathy Kushner/JMU Athletics Communications
Women's Basketball Hosts Hofstra Thursday
Courtesy:JMUSports.com Release:02/22/2012

HARRISONBURG, Va., Feb. 22, 2012 -- Two of the top women's basketball teams in the Colonial Athletic Association meet Thursday when James Madison hosts Hofstra in a 7 p.m. game at the JMU Convocation Center (7 p.m.).

The game will be televised by ESPN3.

The Dukes take a 20-6 overall record and an 11-4 league mark into the contest, while Hofstra has an 18-8 overall record and a 10-5 CAA record.  With three regular-season games remaining, JMU is in second place and Hofstra is in third in the league standings.

JMU needs just one more win to secure a first-round bye in the CAA Tournament.  The top four seeds in the 12-team tournament receive byes.

CAA Standings
(through Feb. 22)
 1. Delaware
, 15-0
 2. James Madison
, 11-4
 3. Hofstra,
 4. Drexel
, 9-6
     UNC Wilmington
, 9-6
 6. VCU
, 8-7
 7. George Mason
, 7-8
, 7-8
 9. Old Dominion
, 6-9
10. Northeastern
, 4-11
11. William and Mary
, 3-12
12. Georgia State
, 1-14

GAME 27:  JMU vs. Hofstra Pride
  Thursday, Feb. 23, 7 p.m.
Where:  JMU Convocation Center (capacity 7,156), Harrisonburg, Va.

  WHBG ESPN 1360 AM, Harrisonburg, Va. | MadiZONE on JMUSports.com
Live Stats

About Hofstra:  Located in Hempstead, N.Y.... enrollment 12,000.

Home Court:  Mack Sports Complex (capacity 5,054)

Conference Affiliation:  CAA member... picked to finish fourth in 2012

Coach:  Krista Kilburn-Stevesky (N.C. State '90), 104-81 in five Hofstra & career seasons

Record:  18-8 overall, 10-5 CAA... CAA wins at Georgia State (86-71), William and Mary (100-97), Old Dominion (81-68), George Mason (82-70) and Drexel (68-61) and at home over Drexel (76-65), Georgia State (80-67), Northeastern (72-66), W&M (82-75) and Towson (69-66)... CAA losses at home to JMU (81-63), ODU (81-79) and Delaware (89-79) and on the road at Delaware (84-66) and VCU (76-60).

Players to Watch
Shante Evans... 6-0 junior forward... team-high 18.5 ppg (No. 4 in CAA, No. 31 in NCAA) and team-high 10.2 rpg (No. 3 in CAA, No. 21 in NCAA)... early-season Naismith Award watch list... Team USA member for 2011 Pan American Games... 2011 Associated Press All-America Honorable Mention... preseason All-CAA First Team... 2011 All-CAA First Team

Katelyn Loper... 5-11 sophomore guard... 13.4 ppg

Nicole Capurso... 5-9 senior guard... 11.5 ppg

Candace Bond... 5-0 junior guard/forward... team-high 3.1 steals per game (CAA leader, No. 19 in NCAA)

Candice Bellocchio... 5-6 senior guard... team-high 6.2 assists per game (CAA leader, No. 11 in NCAA)

Of Note:  Hofstra leads the CAA and ranks No. 10 among NCAA teams in scoring at 75.9 ppg.

Scouting JMU

Coach:  Kenny Brooks (JMU '92), 218-93 in 10 JMU & career seasons

Record:  20-6 overall, 11-4 CAA | Complete Results

Players to Watch:
Tarik Hislop
... 5-7 junior guard... team-high 14.5 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... 10.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg, team-high 2.0 steals per game

Lauren Whitehurst... 6-2 redshirt-senior center... 8.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg, team-high 1.8 blocks per game

Nikki Newman... 6-2 junior forward... team-high 7.5 rpg

Jasmine Gill... 6-1 redshirt-junior guard... 10.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg... preseason All-CAA Honorable Mention

Of Note:  The Dukes have posted their seventh consecutive 20-win season, a school record.  JMU has had 17 20-win seasons in the program's history, all occurring in the last 34 years.

Sophomore Kirby Burkholder played in 24 games as a freshman but scored only 31 points.  Just 13 seconds into the Dukes' third game this season Burkholder surpassed her freshman total.  Burkholder's scoring improvement from last year's 1.3 average to this year's 10.6 is the highest percentage increase in school history.

JMU held its opponent under 30 percent shooting from the field in its last two games... that's happened a total of five times this season... JMU ranks 10th in the NCAA in field goal percentage defense (34.0) in the latest national statistics.

In its Feb. 19 loss at Northeastern, no JMU player scored in double figures... that's the second time this season that has happened... the other was in a 49-45 Feb. 5 win over George Mason... only one other time in JMU history have the Dukes' failed to have a player score in double figures:   a 60-30 loss at Iowa on Nov. 26, 1994, when JMU set school records for fewest points in a game and fewest field goals (11).

In the Feb. 19 loss at Northeastern JMU had double-digit blocked shots (10) for the third time this season.

Last Time Out:  Northeastern converted 20 of 25 free throws in its first-ever win over JMU as the Huskies took a 61-50 victory on Feb. 19 at Solomon Court.

The Huskies held a 23-21 lead at intermission and outscored JMU 38-29 in the second half.  Northeastern outscored JMU only 41-40 from the field but the Huskies had 20 free throws to 10 to JMU.

The Series
JMU leads the overall series with Hofstra 10-8 including a win at Hofstra earlier this season.  Hofstra holds a 5-4 lead on its home court while JMU has a 6-3 lead on its home court.

Prior to JMU's win at Hofstra in January, the Pride had won the last two games against the Dukes.  Hofstra took a 75-73 win on Feb. 27, 2011 and posted a 69-62 overtime win at JMU on Jan. 28, 2010.

This Season's First JMU-Hofstra Meeting
Jan. 19, 2012, JMU 81, Hofstra 63

Three JMU players scored 20 or more points as the Dukes downed league-leading Hofstra 81-68 at Mack Sports Arena.

For the Dukes, Tarik Hislop led all players with a career-high 25 points, including 13 at the foul line, where she hit 13 of 15 attempts.  Toia Giggetts turned in career-highs of 21 points and 11 rebounds; she was 7-for-10 from the floor and 7-for-9 at the foul line.  Jasmine Gill scored 21 points, 19 of which came in the second half.

JMU's Nikki Newman finished with a game- and career-high 16 rebounds, and Kirby Burkholder matched her career-high with 12 rebounds.

Four Hofstra players scored in double figures:  Shante Evans with 14, Katelyn Loper with 11, and Nicole Capurso and Andreana Thomas, each with 10.  The Pride's top rebounders were Candace Bond with nine and Evans with eight.

The Dukes finished with a season-high 64 rebounds and out-rebounded Hofstra by 19.

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