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James Madison's Kirby Burkholder

James Madison Voted To Win 2013-14 CAA Women’s Basketball Title

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 10/22/2013
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Baltimore, MD. (October 22, 2013) – James Madison, which returns three starters from last year’s 25-11 team, was selected to win the 2014 CAA Women’s Basketball title according to a vote of the league’s head coaches. The results of the poll were announced at Tuesday’s CAA Basketball Media Day at the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore, Md.

The Dukes were followed in the voting by Drexel, which captured the 2013 Women’s National Invitation Tournament championship, Northeastern and Towson. Delaware, which earned its second straight CAA title in 2013 and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16, was picked to finish fifth in the preseason poll, followed by Hofstra and league newcomer College of Charleston. UNCW and William & Mary rounded out the poll in eighth and ninth place, respectively.

James Madison most recently won the CAA Women’s Basketball title in back-to-back years in 2010 and 2011. Back to lead the Purple and Gold is senior guard Kirby Burkholder, who earned All-CAA first-team honors last season after averaging 15.0 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. She will be joined in the backcourt by sophomore guard Precious Hall (9.6ppg/3.1 rpg), who was named the 2013 CAA Rookie of the Year. Junior forward Toia Giggetts also returns for the Dukes after contributing 7.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game after making 30 starts for the Dukes. Coach Kenny Brooks will also welcome back 2012 CAA Defensive Player of the Year Nikki Newman to the court after she had to sit out last season due to injury.  Sophomore guard Jazmon Gwathmey (6.2 ppg/5.5 rpg) will provide depth in the backcourt.

Drexel, which is coming off the best season in school history, will rely on the leadership of sophomore Meghan Creighton (5.9 ppg) and senior Fiona Flanagan (5.4 ppg) in the backcourt. The Dragons welcome back Rachel Pearson, a versatile player who can contribute at the guard and forward positions, as she tallied 3.5 points and 1.2 rebounds a year ago. She will be joined by other returnees in senior forwards Abby Redick (2.4 ppg) and Tory Theirolf (1.4 ppg), as well as sophomore guard Carrie Alexander (2.2 ppg).

Northeastern is coming off a breakout record-setting season that featured the biggest turnaround of any team in the conference and the program’s first winning record in 13 years with a 17-13 overall mark. Head coach Daynia La-Force, who earned CAA Coach of the Year honors for the first time in 2013, led the Huskies to a program-best 11 victories at the Cabot Center. The Huskies return three starters, including All-CAA center Jewel Tunstull, who led the team with 8.9 rebounds per game to go along with 12.5 points per outing. Junior guards A’lece Mark (9.4 ppg, 3.6 apg) and Amencie Mercier (5.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg) also return after starting 27 and 28 games, respectively, a year ago.

Towson opens the 2013-14 season under new leadership as Niki Reid Geckeler was named the ninth head coach in program history. The Tigers welcome back four starters, including second team All-CAA pick Tanisha McTiller and CAA All-Rookie selection Dominique Johnson. McTiller, who had a breakout season a year ago, averaged 18.8 points per game which ranked third in the CAA. Johnson made an immediate impact as a freshman appearing in 22 games, while averaging 9.0 points per game. Redshirt senior Nyree Williams is back at the forward position after she led the team by pulling down 7.8 rpg, which ranked 10th in the league. Junior guard Markell Smith (4.4 ppg/4.8 rpg) will provide depth in the backcourt for the Tigers. 

JMU’s Burkholder was selected as the CAA Preseason Player of the Year.  She is joined on the preseason All-CAA first team by teammate Hall, UNCW’s Kelva Atkins (10.4 ppg/4.1rpg), McTiller, and Tunstull.

Voted to the preseason All-CAA second team were College of Charleston’s Alyssa Frye (12.6 ppg/3.0 rpg), Northeasterns’ Mark, Hofstra’s Anma Onyeuku (9.4 ppg/5.6 rpg) and Andreana Thomas (9.1 ppg/6.6 apg) and Delaware’s Akeema Richards (5.5 ppg/2.6 rpg).

2013-14 CAA Women’s Basketball Predicted Order of Finish

1.    James Madison        

2.    Drexel

3.    Northeastern

4.    Towson

5.    Delaware

6.    Hofstra

7.    College of Charleston

8.    UNCW

9.    William & Mary

2013-14 CAA Women’s Basketball Preseason All-Conference Teams

First Team

Cl.

Pos.

Ht.

Hometown/Previous School

Kelva Atkins, UNCW

Jr.

G

5-4

Stem, N.C./Granville Central/Columbia State JC

Kirby Burkholder, James Madison*

Sr.

G

6-0

Bridgewater, Va./Turner Ashby

Precious Hall, James Madison

So.

G

5-8

Tallahassee, Fla./Maclay School

Tanisha McTiller, Towson#

Sr.

G

5-7

Chicago, Ill./Lincoln Park

Jewel Tunstull, Northeastern^

Sr.

C

6-3

Brooklyn, N.Y./Midwood

         

Second Team

Cl.

Pos.

Ht.

Hometown/Previous School

Alyssa Frye, College of Charleston

Sr.

G

5-8

Chester, Va./Dale

A’lece Mark, Northeastern

Jr.

G

5-7

Springfield, Mass./Central/Loomis Chaffee Academy

Anma Onyeuku, Hofstra

Sr.

F

5-10

Fayetteville, Ga./Fayette County

Akeema Richards, Delaware

Sr.

G

5-7

Baltimore, Md./Western/West Virginia

Andreana Thomas, Hofstra

Jr.

G

5-4

West Haven, Conn./James Hillhouse

CAA Preseason Player of the Year: Kirby Burkholder, James Madison

Honorable Mention: Meghan Creighton, Drexel; Fiona Flanagan, Drexel; Nyree Williams, Towson.

*1st team All-CAA in 2012-13

# 2nd team All-CAA in 2012-13

^ 3rd team All-CAA in 2012-13

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