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2011-12 James Madison Dukes Sneak Peek

Oct 17, 2011, 10:08 PM EDT

Kenny Brooks

Last year:
26-8, 16-2 CAA, won CAA Tournament

Who’s missing:
Guard Dawn Evans (23.1 ppg, CAA Player of the Year); center Lauren Jimenez (14.1 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 2nd team All-CAA); guard Courtney Hamner (8.5 ppg); forward Jalissa Taylor (6.5 rpg).

What’s new:
A motto befitting a two-time defending conference champion – “Encore!”Also, a four-player freshman class featuring 6-2 guard and Virginia High School Coaches Association state player of the year Jazmon Gwathmey, and  junior college transfer point guard Tanica Anderson.

The headliners: Redshirt senior Lauren Whitehurst and juniors Tarik Hislop and Nikki Newman must all adapt to meatier roles.

We’d like to see more from: Hislop has shown flashes of being a high-volume scorer, but during her first two seasons the Dukes already had one of those. They don’t anymore.

Welcome back: Junior guard Kanita Shepherd, who played only nine games last season before being shelved by a knee injury.

The challenge:
To smoothly transition out of the Dawn Evans Era and maintain their status as the team to beat in the CAA.

We like their chances if:
The Dukes can replace the 70 percent of the 2010-11 scoring Evans, Jimenez, Hamner and Taylor took with them down the graduation aisle.

Sexy non-conference matchup:
at Virginia, Dec. 20 – The Dukes have won the last two meetings but will be contesting this one without Evans, who scored 78 points in the two games.

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