Aggies Advance To Sweet 16 Following 85-69 Win Over James Madison

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) -- Courtney Williams scored 23 points and Karla Gilbert added 20 points with 15 rebounds to help Texas A&M to an 85-69 win over James Madison on Tuesday night in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

The victory sends the third-seeded Aggies to the round of 16 for the sixth time and their first since 2012. They missed reaching the third round last season after losing to Nebraska at home in this round.

The Aggies used an 8-2 run to build a 10-point lead early in the second half and answered each time James Madison cut the advantage. The Dukes got within seven points with about seven minutes remaining, but A&M used an 8-0 run to make it 81-66.

Kirby Burkholder led 11th-seeded James Madison with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

The victory sends the third-seeded Aggies to the round of 16 for the sixth time and their first since 2012. They missed reaching the third round last season after losing to Nebraska at home in this round.

The Aggies used an 8-2 run to build a 10-point lead early in the second half and answered each time James Madison cut the advantage. The Dukes got within seven points with about seven minutes remaining, but A&M used an 8-0 run to make it 81-66.

Kirby Burkholder led 11th-seeded James Madison with 20 points and 10 rebounds.


Gary Blair, Head Coach

Opening statement:
“The crowd was great. The media has been tremendous at following us for all four teams, and our local media has been outstanding. I think the turning point of the game was the last two minutes of the half. We scored those two baskets, and we missed the wide-open layup, but boy we ran the break perfectly. We miss a layup, but all of a sudden after we still had momentum. And we opened it up in the second half, ran two set plays and then we got the ball inside all night long. They were a little short-handed because of their size and sometimes that’s what happens when you’re at a mid-major. You do not have the 6-3, 6-4 post players consistently. You can win with six-footers. That’s what I did at Stephen F. Kenny has done a great job of winning, but when the jumpers were not going early we said, ‘Keep going inside. Keep going inside and get to the free throw line.’ Twenty-seven free throws in the first half was outstanding. Walker got into foul trouble because I was running out of people. I kept looking, ‘Who’s gonna guard her next?’ because we had three of them with two fouls. And it wasn’t gonna be Williams. Jordan was next and I couldn’t risk her on Burkholder. But I thought in the second half we wore them down a little, switched to a zone and played hope they miss. But the thing is they were getting one-and-outs and we were getting the rebound, ran a couple good transition baskets and then Jordan – 16 assists – could have had 20 if we’d have finished a couple more. But we’re gonna take the win. Love the crowd, love James Madison’s team. I mean they’ve got some special seniors on that team. Little No. 12 kid – she’s gonna be a heck of a player for them in the future.”

On foul calls:
“When you have one team that’s trying to go inside 80%, there’s going to be a disparity on fouls. That’s what we are trying to do. We were going to go inside and make the whistle happen. There were a number of times in the second half that we went inside and Karla had to finish because she was getting fouled. They were not all called but she has to be tough enough to finish those. I think we earned every one of those fouls and that’s all part of it. You go look at the tape on Karla’s first foul of the game and let me know who she touched. So what I tried to do was I’d take her out after the first foul of the game to let the referee settle down, not my players. I want Karla to know how important she is to us; I can’t let her get her second foul. I made a mistake and put Walker on 20 for a couple possessions and two fouls and about three minutes, that’s how hard she is to guard. It cost me having her in there in the first half for about eight minutes. The fouls, hey I’ve been on that other end before. And right now we were the larger team, you go inside, you are either going to steal the pass or you’re going to have to foul us.”

On guarding Kirby Burkholder:
“We play this lineup because more-or-less they are a four guard team. 24 is a four-player who plays like a guard. She is an excellent player, she has a pull up jumper; I don’t think we stopped it the whole night. She might have missed one or two but we didn’t stop it. She was six out of 10. What you want to do when you play a great player, whether its Odyssey Sims or Shoni Schimmel or whoever, you want them to shoot under 33 percent. Under 33 percent, make them earn it, and that’s what we did again tonight. I thought we did a good job, she was five out of 14. She got a little tired, but she has to do so much for that team, offensively, defensively, leadership-wise. She just knows how to get open. My players were guarding her too tight, early. She would just use her hands like a good veteran and push you off like she was Carmelo Anthony or somebody. She knew how to use her hands to get open, to post. I kept telling my girls, when she is away from the ball get off of her so when she makes a cut you can chuck her that way. She is a heck of a player, but she had to work for everything she got tonight”

On SEC Dominance:
“I’m happy for our conference. I think it’s back. The SEC is back. I think it says a lot because of what we have done at the top; what all of the top fours did. I’m happy for LSU. You can see what hosting can mean. Hosting is huge because you get your crowd involved. I’m just happy for my league because I think it’s very balanced and it’s even going to be so much better next year. I better get on the recruiting trail which I will be by tomorrow night.”

On Karla Gilbert:
“I don’t think any of us, except probably Karla and her parents, knew how good she was. She didn’t dominate in high school. I know where to put her, and I kept her down low the majority of her career. She’s very effective. She’s better with her left hand, yeah she’s right-handed but she’s better shooting with her left than she is right. I’ve never seen that in a right-hander before. She’s got the heart of gold. Nothing rattles her. This is why she’s going to be one of the best teachers, because you have to have patience to be a great teacher. If she goes into coaching, she’s going to have to get a deeper voice, because she’s got that little soprano voice. She’s going to have to get mean every now and then. I love that kid to death, and she takes control of our team. She’s the mama of our team. Nothing ever rattles her. I’m proud to say I was her coach.”

On what he likes most about this team:
“I think we’re pretty resilient. We don’t get caught up on ourselves. You look at our leading scorer, she’s probably the quietest kid on the team—Courtney Walker. You look at Courtney Williams, she probably has the most potential. Then you look at Karla Gilbert, she might be our most valuable player. But then you look at Jordan Jones, look what she’s done that last month. You find me a point guard in the country that’s done as much for her team as she has. She’s been able to hit the big three when we needed it, particularly in the last five or six games. She’s got all the confidence in the world right now. She’s playing like a winner. I’ve got a lot supporting actresses. Tori Scott, there’s another 3-for-3. Achiri Ade, the matchups in the last two games hasn’t made me utilize her at the post as much as I could do with a four-guard lineup. I just like my team. They get along. One of our biggest thoughts today was one of the greatest gifts you can have is to be a great teammate. We have a lot kids who are great teammates to each other, particularly Kristen Grant, my senior. She’s been a great teammate and a teacher. She’s hasn’t griped about her minutes or anything. She’s just been happy to have her opportunities. Maybe we have one of those magical teams this year. We are ready for DePaul. Bring on the Blue Demons. There’s not two better coaches in the game that love baseball more than Doug Bruno and I. He’s a Cubs fan, and I’m a Rangers fan. We’ll talk about that, and talk about fantasy baseball. I’m looking forward to talking to Doug.”

On flowing at the right time:
“I think we are. What I’ve got to do is I’ve got to get more kids in the game early, because Jordan wants to run. Sometimes you look around and Jordan is leading the break and she’s having to finish the break, because I have to get my wings and the post down the court a little bit quicker. Right now we feel good about ourselves, but so does everyone else in the Sweet 16. We are not a step ahead of ourselves. We’re not looking for Connecticut. We are looking for Stanford or Baylor. We’re looking for the big Blue Demons of DePaul. We’ve got a short turnaround. We have to leave out of here Thursday. By the way, all the local people the NCAA would not allow us announce that we are going to try to get a bus to Lincoln. So if you can put that in, and just have them call our offices or something. Hopefully, we can have some more information to get our fans. I haven’t figured that out, why we could not announce that we going to try to get transportation. But, the NCAA knows what’s best for all of us.”

On embracing March Madness:
“Is there a better three weeks than what’s going on in March Madness—maybe four weeks. I think for once you’re not worried about who got drafted, that’ll be in June. You’re not worried about who signed with who. We’re talking about basketball. It’s a game a lot of us are experts at sitting in the stands or watching on computers. I love to watch basketball. The hardest thing for me was the two weeks we were off, I was watching too much basketball. I filled out a bracket, but I can’t turn it in. So, we didn’t win a billion dollars. But, my two in the Final Four for the men are Louisville and Michigan State. I think I have about 12 other teams still in there, so I haven’t lost all of mine. I love it. I love what it’s about. Spring training and baseball is getting ready to start. Golf, the Master’s it coming, but right now it’s March Madness. I think it’s special, and this town, it’s starting to create a buzz. I’m anxious to see how many people will actually get in the cars and drive to see us, or get on the bus, or get on an airplane and come to Lincoln. The road to perfection, or whatever ESPN is saying, look what Connecticut is doing. That was one of the most perfect basketball teams I saw when I watched the first half of that basketball game today. It’s great for basketball, but it’ll be ever better for basketball if there’s a DePaul, or a Texas A&M or somebody like that that can get to the Final Four. So, we’re all going to work hard together. We all going to compile our teams and see what we can come up with.”

Jordan Jones, Sophomore, Guard

On being a flow team:
“We are pretty much a flow team, but with all the fouls called in the first half it made it difficult for us. We weren’t executing our defensive plan. Coach Starkey told us at halftime that if we executed the way we had to and played with our feet and not our hands and box out, we were going to be able to get what we wanted. We were able to get out in transition. We started to get into the flow of our offense. This team really thrives in transition. Once we start pushing our offense and getting the looks that we wanted, it was hard for them to stop. In the first half, the fouls that were being called slowed us down a lot. It is more on ourselves than the refs because we know better, we know to play with our feet and not our hands. Coach Starkey is a great defensive coach. He really came into halftime and made some good adjustments.”

Karla Gilbert, Senior, Forward

On the offensive performance today:
“Basically, we were flowing today. We got to beat them from the inside first. Our guards were awesome today. They were penetrating the basket and knocking down shots. It made it hard to play both. They were trying to sit on me, but with everyone else playing like that it made it hard for them to play both. We had great passing with the 16 assists from Jordan.”

On continuing the season:
“I’m excited. I’m looking forward to everything we have coming for the future. We’re not done. We’re not willing to settle. We’re excited. I’m ready to get back out there tomorrow. I’m ready to finish this senior season off with a great ending.”

On the intensity level of teams in the NCAA Tournament:
“I think the intensity level is at its highest peak because everybody knows what is on the line. You’re one and out in the tournament, after that you’re getting ready for the next season. Everybody is putting their head out there on the line and they’re ready to give it all they’ve got. Coach Starkey was talking about being relentless and that’s exactly what teams have to be in this tournament.”

On moving past the second round after last season:
“I’m glad we’re beyond this game. That’s all I could think about when I was going to sleep last night. It was hard for me to sleep. We couldn’t end it by playing at Reed Arena. That’s all that was going through my head. I’m just proud of my team. I know we’re not done. We’re hungry. We’re ready to keep going.”

Courtney Williams, Sophomore, Guard

On her offensive performance:
“I tried to take what the defense gave me and find the open gaps. When I did get the ball in transition, I just tried to find my teammates. I’m not a selfish player. We’re a flow team, as well as play good transition defense. We create turnovers and get easy buckets. If we can continue to do that, we’ll keep on playing.”

On moving past the second round after last season:
“We didn’t want it to end like last year. We didn’t like that feeling. We wanted to come out here and give it our all. Me and my teammates, we want to go as far as we can. We gave it our all. We showed that on the court with our passion and aggression in the second half.”


Team Record & Series Notes:
• With the victory, Texas A&M improved to 26-8 on the season and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the sixth time where it will face seventh-seeded DePaul on Saturday in Lincoln, Neb. … The Aggies are now 20-9 all-time in 11 NCAA Tournament appearances.
• The loss snapped James Madison’s six game winning streak as the Dukes finish their season with a 29-6 record.
• Texas A&M now holds a 1-0 advantage in the all-time series between the two schools.

Texas A&M Team Notes:
• Texas A&M has now won a conference championship or advanced to the Sweet 16 in every season since 2006-07 … This is the 10th Sweet 16 trip for Gary Blair.
• For the game, the Aggies shot 50 percent from the floor (29-for-58) marking the 11th time this season they’ve hit the 50 percent plateau in shooting.
• The Aggies owned a 42-36 edge in the rebounding column and outscored the Dukes 36-28 in points in the paint.
• Texas A&M’s senior class is 11-2 in the NCAA Tournament, which is the third-best tournament winning percentage among active senior classes.
• Texas A&M is 19-4 since Dec. 28 and has won nine of its last 11 games.
• The Aggies earned a season-best 37 free throw shots in the contest, making 24 for a 64.9 percentage.
• The 43 points allowed by the Aggies in the first half was the most they’ve yielded in an opening half this season, topping a 39-point first half by Kentucky on Feb. 23.

Texas A&M Individual Notes:
• Sophomore Courtney Williams finished with 23 points to score in double figures for the 23rd time this season and third time in four career NCAA Tournament games.
• Senior Karla Gilbert notched her seventh double-double of the season, finishing with 20 points and a career high-tying 15 rebounds … She reached double figures in points for the 18th time this season and second time in this NCAA Tournament while extending her Texas A&M single season blocked shots record to 66.
• Sophomore Courtney Walker scored 18 points to reach double-figure scoring for the 11th straight game, including all four SEC and NCAA Tournament games … She has scored in double figures 29 times this season.
• Sophomore Jordan Jones dished out 16 assists to reached double figures in dimes for the sixth straight game, including all four SEC and NCAA Tournament games … The 16 helpers are the most since Sydney Colson notched 15 vs Nebraska on March 3, 2011.

James Madison Team Notes:
• The Dukes made 24-of-65 field goal attempts in the game (36.9%) while converting 19-of-21 shots from the free throw line (90.5%).
• James Madison’s 29 wins this season equals the most victories the program has posted during head coach Kenny Brooks’ 12-year tenure … JMU has won 20 or more games in each of the nine seasons.
• The game stood out as just the third time this season the Dukes have yielded 85 points or more in a contest … JMU entered the NCAA Tournament allowing just 54.8 points per game.

James Madison Individual Notes:
• Senior Kirby Burkholder notched her 12th double-double of the season, finishing with 20 points and 10 rebounds … She was a perfect 9-of-9 from the free throw line to end the season with 30 consecutive successful attempts at the charity stripe.
• Burkholder drew her 80th career start to move into a tie for ninth all-time at JMU … She also ranks third with 132 career starts for the Dukes.
• Additionally, Burkholder made one 3-point basket to give her 110 treys for the season, second most in program history.
• Junior forward Toia Giggetts finished the night with 12 points to post her 32nd consecutive game in double-digit scoring.
• Senior Nikki Newman started her 120th career game, ending her career in a tie for fifth most in program history … She ranks first all-time with 147 games played at JMU.


Tori Scott, Junior, Guard

On what Aggies did to slow Kirby Burkholder:
“We tried to really stay on the ball, stay in her face. Sometimes it worked; sometimes it didn’t. She’s a really good player and had counter moves. We just basically tried to put forth effort and energy to guard her.”

On JMU’s first-half foul trouble:
“It helped big time, because we were able to get her [Burkholder] out of the game at the most important time of the game. That was really important to us.”

On the Aggies’ six-point play in the first half that gave A&M momentum:
“That helped a lot because it gave us momentum. The crowd got back into the game. Even our bench was able to cheer on our teammates, that was really good.”

On how good the win feels after the loss to Nebraska at home last year:
“It feels really good finally able to move on and get past where we were last year.”

On quick start in second half:
“Coach Blair’s speech. He’s not really big on slamming his hand on the table or things like that. When he does it, it motivates us a little bit more. He did that today. The message came across.”

On playing DePaul:
“We’ll be ready for whoever we play. We just have to be focused and relaxed and just play basketball how we know how to play.”

Courtney Walker, Sophomore, Guard

On key to her big scoring game:
“Just taking what was given to me. They were really in a pressure man. We really wanted to look inside. We were playing inside-out anyway. Other games we start to shoot more jumpers when our posts are in foul trouble or it’s not working or they’re doubling or something. It was just going. Karla [Gilbert] had an amazing game, and we just kept feeding it to her. There was no reason to shoot a lot of jump shots, so I think that’s what kept me efficient.”

On it being a tough game to play with all the fouls in the first half:
“It seemed like you would slide or as soon as you touched somebody, especially with like No. 20 [Kirby Burkholder], she has some great moves. You try to stay in front of her, but as soon as you touch them, it was almost a foul automatically. So we just tried to adjust. I think we did that in the second half, and I think they loosened up a little bit.”

On JMU being in foul trouble in first half:
“We have a deeper bench than they do. I know I was in foul trouble. We had a couple of people with one who were playing kind of off. Our bench came in and did a great job. We’re much deeper than they are, so I think when our bench came on, compared to theirs, we were able to play. Our bench was a lot more comfortable and confident playing.”

On job they did on Kirby Burkholder:
“I was guarding 24 [Jazmon Gwathmey], because she’s more like a guard. But on 20 [Burkholder] we were playing her like we do great players from other teams. That was Tori [Scott]. No catch. No help. None of that. They like to do the European three action a lot with her as well as run off a lot of double screens and back screens as you’re trying to help on other screens. So it was just no help, no catch for her. Tori did a great job.”

On how this feels after losing to Nebraska here last year:
“We’ve been going James Madison, James Madison. But when we got to the locker room today, they had the Nebraska film running on our computers. So it was a big reminder. Come in and be focused. It doesn’t matter the opponent. We just have to play our game. We really got our minds focused, and we went over things we wanted to do against each player and the advantages we wanted to take against them. We were able to go out there and execute.”


Kenny Brooks, Head Coach

Opening statement:
“Tonight just wasn’t our night. Congratulations to Texas A&M. I thought they played a tremendous game. I thought they made shots. They took advantage of a lot of situations – getting to the free throw line, pounding the ball inside, so congratulations to them as they move on to the Sweet Sixteen. I want to also congratulate these two ladies sitting to my right (seniors Nikki Newman and Kirby Burkholder). They have taken our program to a different level and I appreciate every ounce of effort, their gratitude, their love for James Madison and this program, and I love what they have done for the future of our program because the rest of the kids on our team have had two of the greatest leaders to follow. I really appreciate their efforts, and they fought to the very end and I really appreciate it. Tonight just wasn’t our night. We came up short, got in foul trouble and Texas A&M cashed in on that opportunity.”

On the foul trouble:
“It handcuffed us. I felt that for the majority of the game I was managing playing time and trying to keep kids fresh. I thought that because of the foul trouble, kids had to play extensive minutes in the first half, so we really didn’t have legs in the second half. We played zone way more than I anticipated or wanted to. I thought A&M really got comfortable against our zone and they hit the sweet spots. There was really nothing that we could do about it because if we had tried to play man, we would have been in foul trouble even further. We’ve been like that this year, where if we’ve been in foul trouble, it kind of dampers our enthusiasm a little bit, or our ability to get out in transition, or our ability to extend our defense. Tonight I wanted to do a little bit more, but we weren’t able to because of the foul trouble.”

On the team’s good start:
“This is a very confident group. They feel like they can play with anyone, and I thought we were proving that in the beginning. I thought we had a really good flow. I thought Toia was really into the game. We got the basketball to her in some areas and we really needed her scoring presence down low in order for us to be successful. When she got her second foul in the first half, it handcuffed us. We just didn’t have that flow. And then Nikki’s play happened. To know that kid, she’s very emotional. I don’t think she was directing anything derogatory towards the official, she was really just trying to be emotional and get the team going. That hurt when she got the technical foul because that was her third foul. When you have Toia and Nikki on the bench in the first half, you’re just not able to be yourself and I think that really hurt us.”

On Courtney Williams:
“I thought she played well. I won’t take anything away from what they did. I thought they exploited our defense but I thought we played zone a little too long, but it was out of necessity. She found the sweet spot. She did a really good job. Her length is bothersome. She jumped on top of our kids a few times. She had her stroke going tonight. She is a very good player. Obviously she is an All-SEC player. She stepped up tonight and she proved it. They made shots. They made shots. We were down four points in the first half and they banked a three. They had 19 free throws. She was a load but so was Karla and the rest of the girls.”

On possible momentum shift after technical foul on Nikki Newman:
“I guess you are in the media and you have to try to find something, but it wasn’t that play. You can look at it as a monumental play. I think there wasn’t any more importance to that play than a couple of assignments. Nikki Newman has done a fantastic job for us. I had a long conversation with the official, just explaining that I thought it was emotion. Nothing was really directed. That play, it hurt because it gave her three fouls. I think we had a six point lead or something at one point. We still were in the basketball game. If that was a monumental play, it didn’t lose the game for us or anything. If she could take it back, I know she would.”

On the first half performance:
“I guess for you guys it was really good and for the fans it was really good, for the fans it was really good, but for our coaches who really want some defense to be played; I just kept saying: ‘we’ve got to play better defense, we’ve got to stop them.’ I thought our offense had things going and we played it well enough offensively to keep us in the game. Our defense was strained because we had to go to the zone for too long, and we knew it. We had conversations about it. We couldn’t afford anymore foul trouble. I didn’t know if I was going to have enough players to finish the game the way the first half was going-they shot 26 free throws in the first half. It was good for TV, it was good for media and it had good flow. I think it was something like 47-43 at halftime, which I don’t know if we’ve given up 47 points in a half all year long. It was kind of choppy in the second half with the fouls and what not.”

On what he told the team after the game:
“I told them I was proud of them. I thought they represented our university to the utmost all year long. It was probably the best season I’ve ever had as a coach. We weren’t what we are now at the beginning of the season. We really came together as a team and made sacrifices. Then I addressed the seniors, and I thanked them for what they have done for this university. They’re great ambassadors. I told the underclassmen that they’ve had great leadership and mentorship all year from those kids, and if they want to come and lead as decorated and celebrated as those two kids, they’ve got the formula, because Nikki and Kirby have done so much for our university. It’s bittersweet for me because they got to this point, and I’ve known both of those kids since they were ten years old. To see what they’ve accomplished is amazing, but to know that it’s over is a little bit bitter for me. The whole team is disappointed because we thought we had a Sweet-16 caliber basketball team. But this is a year to celebrate because we’ve accomplished so many things. We have to fight and scratch to get any type of respectability on the national stage, and I think that this weekend, if anything, we’ve proven that we’re a very good basketball team, a program that should be noted as one of the better programs in the country in the country.”

On A&M holding them to so few points in the second half:
“Again, no disrespect to what they did. I am just focused on us and I just felt like we couldn’t get into our flow. Kirby picked up her fourth foul with about 11 minutes to go. She sat beside Toia Giggetts who already had four fouls and then we had to rely on kids who do not normally have to score for us. When you take your two top scorers and they both have four fouls with 11 minutes to go in the game, you have to find different ways to score. This is game 35. I don’t think we are going to try anything new. It was just disjointed because of the fouls and you can’t get into a flow. I think, the way the second half started, you would think myself and Coach Blair had never coached defense. It was just really good offense and it got going. Before we knew it, a couple plays had gotten away and we were down 10 and we were chasing them the rest of the game. I am sure Coach Blair will come up here and he will tell you what they did to us. Right now, I am just focusing on us and I will just tell you that we never really got into a flow.”

Kirby Burkholder, Senior, Guard

On Gilbert’s performance in the paint:
“She’s big. She was able to draw a lot of fouls on us. Sometimes she would be up there, and we really didn’t know how. Our post weren’t as tall, so that was an advantage for them. She made a lot or she got a lot of fouls.”

On frustration from shooting trouble:
“I wasn’t really that frustrated shooting. I’m just out there trying to do the best that I can. I didn’t shoot the best these past two games. I mean it is a little frustrating, but that’s how it goes sometimes. I don’t think it took my confidence down as a shooter overall. It’s just how it ended up happening.”

On this season as a whole:
“It’s really hard to describe. It’s just been very special. This…all my teammates. It’s been one of the most unselfish teams I’ve played with. We have the true definition of a team. Even our regular season and our conference tournament, winning that and winning the first round, and even this game. We can’t hang our heads. It’s hard right now, but looking back, it’s been a very good season with some very special girls.

Nikki Newman, R. Senior, Forward/Guard

On her technical foul:
“It was a spur of the moment type thing. My emotions got a little out of hand. I wasn’t directing anything at anybody. I was upset with myself. I just got a foul for our team.”

On foul trouble’s effect on game time:
“It kind of affected our momentum in the game. You know it’s hard playing in a game like that, but you have to adjust. I think there’s times where we didn’t adjust to how the game was being called and being in foul trouble. Those girls came in, and they played their hearts out as well. They kept us in the game for a very long time, but sometimes that’s just how things go.”

On Kirby’s trouble shooting this game:
“I don’t think it put a damper on her career. The amount of things that she’s done for us this season, and she came out yesterday, or the game against Gonzaga. Her shot wasn’t falling but she was everywhere else. She was grabbing rebounds. She was being a leader. So it doesn’t put a damper on anything she’s done this far.”

On this season as a whole:
“What Kirby said. You can’t really put into words what this season’s been. Just from the support that we’ve gotten from JMU Nation, our fans, our administration, family, friends. It goes beyond miles from what anybody could have wished for. We fell a little short, but this team has had the most heart out of any team I’ve played with. It’s just definitely a season to remember.”


Toia Giggetts, Junior, Forward

On JMU being in foul trouble:
“We weren’t able to do what we planned out to do, being in foul trouble and everything. We couldn’t play as aggressive as we wanted to also.”

On A&M’s six-point play in the first half turning the momentum:
“It hit us kind of hard. It got their crowd a little bit louder and picked them up a little bit, and then them being at home, it really fired them up. We tried to stay together.”

On A&M’s inside game with their size advantage:
“It was definitely their game plan to go into us. We tried to keep it together, but foul trouble kept us from doing what we wanted to.”

On JMU’s season:
“We wish we could have gone further. We can’t look down. We had a great season.”

On A&M’s quick start in second half:
“Coming into the second half, we wanted to keep them off the line, but we still kept getting into foul trouble. We just had to talk more on defense and never really got there.”

Jazmon Gwathmey, Sophomore, Guard

On key to her big scoring game:
“I didn’t want to stop. I didn’t want to stop playing. It sucks that we lost. In my head, I was like, ‘Just go all out. If we lose, then at least I went out with a bang.’ That was my mindset.”

On JMU’s foul trouble, especially in the first half:
“It killed us. Kirby [Burkholder] had two fouls. Toia [Giggetts] had two fouls. Nikki [Newman] had three. It killed us. Those are our main players right there. That’s something we’ve got to work on next year. These foul changes in the NCAA, I mean, it’s a good thing and a bad thing. We’re so aggressive on defense. We’ve just got to build on it, and be smarter on defense. Next season, we’ll be back. This is a good thing for us.”

On A&M’s six-point play in the first half:
“It gave them momentum. Like we said before we even stepped on the court, they’re going to go on runs. That’s when we circle the wagons and stay together. That’s what we did. I don’t think we ever panicked. We kept trading baskets for most of the time, but then they went on their stretch. Their bigs inside were doing what they were supposed to be doing. It was just hard to stop them.”

On building on this season:
“We know we can play with the big dogs. We’re going to come in next season with the same mentality. Who knows? Maybe we’ll be back in good ol’ Bryan-College Station, Texas, again.”

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