Ladies Fall to Ohio State to Officially End JMU Basketball Season
Kenny Brooks and the ladies dropped their opening round game of the NCAA tournament to Ohio State. The Buckeyes won by the score of 90-80 thanks to a trio of hot shooters. Ameryst Alston poured in 28 points and freshmen Kelsey Mitchell and Alexa Hart added 23 and 20 respectively. Precious Hall led the Dukes with 28 points, but it was Ashley Perez who kept JMU close in the second half by going 6 of 9 from deep on her way to 20 points.
It wasn’t exactly a plodding, grind ’em out, defensive struggle. JMU managed to get off 79 field goal attempts for the game. In a weird twist, the Dukes shot 38% overall and 38% from long range. They won the battle of the boards, out rebounding Ohio State 44 to 41 and also bested the Buckeyes in assists 19 to 16. The difference came down to shooting. Ohio State made 48% of its field goals and routinely got to the line, making 26 of 34 from the stripe. The Dukes on the other hand, only attempted 10 free throws and made 9. That’s a huge difference in a relatively close game.
The loss officially puts the wraps on all JMU basketball for the 2014-2015 season. The women had a terrific season, going 29-4, winning the CAA again, and going to the NCAA tourney for the 11th time. The men faced some adversity with the dismissal of Andre Nation, but took care of business against the lesser teams of the CAA and managed to earn a share of first place in the regular season. The post-season was less kind to Brady and men, who fell to Hofstra in the CAA tourney and then crashed out of the fist round of the CIT against USC Upstate.
The women lose a couple of seniors in Toia Giggetts and Lauren Okafor, but return a core that should continue to build on this year’s success. Head Coach Kenny Brooks has steadily built quite a program. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to be around him, it’s easy to see why. His enthusiasm is infections and his passion for his program and his players is obvious. Quite simply, he’s a hell of a coach.
The men bring back the entire starting lineup and will be adding Devontae Morgan, who redshirted this season after transferring from Butler, and Kevin Roland, a high school recruit with a freakish 41 inch vertical leap. Hopefully Hari Hall will put his concussion issues behind him and improve on the considerable potential he displayed in limited minutes this season. Late season sensation Dimitrije Cabarkapa has eligibility remaining, but is on pace to graduate this year. It will be interesting to see what he decides. And of course history has taught us that we should probably expect a few other departures, but JMU has a decent core returning on paper.