Sunday, November 13, 2016

Big-time opponents bring out best in JMU's Hall

Precious Hall
We're not saying we predicted JMU's Precious Hall would score a career-high 39 points - the single-game high in Division I so far this season - in Friday's 81-69 loss to No. 13 Tennessee. But we certainly weren't surprised to see her turn it up a notch (or three) against a big-time team.

That's just how she rolls.

Consider that Hall, who sat out last season with an ACL injury, averaged 20.8 points per game in 2014-15. Here are her numbers against the three Associated Press Top-25 teams the Dukes played that season:

- vs. No. 23 UCLA - 25 points
- vs. No. 10 Maryland - 29 points
- vs. No. 23 Ohio State (NCAA Tournament) - 28 points.

Add Friday's production against the Lady Vols and JMU's redshirt senior guard is averaging 30.3 points over her last four games against nationally-ranked teams. 

By the way, Hall and the Dukes visit No. 12 Florida State a week from today (Nov. 20).

They'll worry about the Seminoles later, though. Today it's all about St. Francis (N.Y.), which will visit the Convocation Center for a 4:30 p.m. tip. In terms of size and length St. Francis (0-0) is kind of the anti-Tennessee - no Terriers projected starter exceeds 6-0. Look for the Dukes to try and create more scoring opportunities inside than they were able to manage against the towering Lady Vols.

St. Francis coach John Thurston spent 13  at JMU, as a men's basketball assistant to Lou Campanelli from 1975-85 and then as the men's hoops head coach the following three seasons.

Also on Sunday's schedule:

Hampton (0-1) at Iowa (1-0), 1 p.m.
     - Monnazjea Finney-Smith scored a team-high 16 points in Friday's 67-48 loss at Northwestern.
Coppin State (0-1) at Virginia (1-0), 2 p.m.
     - The Cavalliers' four freshmen accounted for 37 of the team's 63 points in Friday's win over Middle Tennessee State. Two of the rookies started - guards Dominique Toussaint (team-high 16 points) and Jocelyn Willoughby (team-high 9 rebounds). A third freshman, 6-9 Felecia Aiyeotan, added four blocks in just nine minutes.

Columbia (0-1) at Richmond (0-0), 2 p.m.
     - Season opener for the Spiders; the Lions come in off a 67-56 home loss to UMBC.

George Mason (1-0) at Delaware (0-0), 2 p.m.
     - Senior Kara Wright scored a career-high 25 points and sophomore Chinyere Bell added a career-high 18 in Friday's 70-56 win over Radford.

St. John's at William and Mary, 2 p.m.
     - First game for Tribe center Abby Rendle since her 24-point, 15-rebound, 10-block triple-double against UNC Wilmington on Jan. 22. Rendle sustained a season-ending injury the next day.

Georgetown at Virginia Tech (1-0), 4 p.m.
     - Hokies sophomore guard Chanette Hicks led four players in double figures with a career-high 24 point in Friday's 71-52 win over defending Big South champion UNC Asheville. 

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