Lady Dukes can't hang with #5 Duke

by Matt Lincoln

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - JMU was trying to beat a top 5 women's basketball team for the first time ever.  But the Dukes could just not handle Duke. Chelsea Gray scored 15 points to lead four double-figure scorers, and the No. 5 Blue Devils survived an early surge by James Madison for a 75-58 win Tuesday night.

The Dukes are now 0-9 all time against top five teams in Harrisonburg, and have lost six straight against the Blue Devils since winning the first game in the series in 1982.

Krystal Thomas added 14 points and 13 rebounds her second straight double-double for the Blue Devils (7-0), who took the lead for good with a 13-2 run midway through the first half, and JMU never got closer than nine the rest of the way.

Dawn Evans led the Dukes (3-3) with 20 points and four assists, and Lauren Jimenez added 19 and 11 rebounds. No other JMU player finished with more than eight points.

There were six lead changes in the first half before Duke aided by JMU turnovers went on its 13-2 run to open a 27-17 lead at the 8:02 mark. The Dukes had 11 first-half turnovers.

Evans, the nation's second-leading scorer behind Delaware's Elena Delle Donne, struggled to find the rim in the second half after making five of 10 from the floor in the first. She finished 8-of-22 and just 2-of-11 from 3-point range.

It is the second straight game Duke has been challenged by a non-major-conference school. On Saturday, Charlotte jumped out to a 22-7 lead before Jasmine Thomas led a comeback to avert an upset.

In the second half, Duke maintained a double-figure lead, while JMU struggled from to make shots. For the game, the Dukes shot 36.4 percent after shooting 45.8 in the first half. In the second half, JMU made just 29 percent of its shots.

JMU's next game is Thursday at Longwood.

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