James Madison's Lauren Okafor, left, defends as Hofstra's Elo Edeferioka drives to the basket in the first half of the CAA basketball tournament championship game, Sunday, March 15, 2015, in Baltimore.(AP Photo/Gail Burton)
Gail Burton
March 15, 2015

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (AP) Another Colonial Athletic Association Tournament ended with James Madison cutting down the nets, this time after a bizarre game in which the lights went out and the league's best player missed 19 of 20 field goal tries.

Jazmon Gwathmey had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and the Dukes defeated Hofstra 62-56 Sunday to claim their second straight CAA title and earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Toia Giggetts scored 14 for the top-seeded Dukes (29-3), who have won six straight and 20 of 21. It was the fourth CAA title in six years for James Madison, the exception a two-year stretch in 2012 and 2013 when Delaware and Elena Delle Donne dominated.

''The thing I'm most proud of is that we did it with a different cast of characters,'' coach Kenny Brooks said. ''It's not like we had one superstar come through who just really sparked our program over a short period of time. We've had five different Players of the Year.''

The latest is Precious Hall, the 2015 CAA Player of the Year who entered the title game with a 20.9 scoring average and was coming off two straight 19-point performances.

In this one, the junior guard made one basket and scored nine points with six turnovers in 33 minutes.

''Precious will admit she didn't play as well as usual, but the other kids stepped up,'' Brooks said.

Hall was 0 for 13 before making a three-point play with 16:14 remaining. That would be her only field goal, although she did go 7 for 7 at the line.

''I didn't play the game I wanted to play,'' Hall said, ''but I still did the little things to help us win.''

Kelly Loftus scored 16 for third-seeded Hofstra (20-12), which was playing in the CAA championship game for the first time and seeking its initial trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Pride started four sophomores and has no seniors on the roster.

''I give a lot of respect to JMU,'' coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey said. ''They've been in this position a lot and it showed down the stretch with their seasoned players that have been in a lot of these games.''

JMU let a nine-point lead dwindle to 41-40 with 9:48 left when the arena lost power. Following a 17-minute delay, Hofstra took the lead with two free throws before Giggetts hit a jumper in the lane to spark a 10-2 run that made it 51-44 with just over five minutes left.

After the Pride closed to 53-50, Grathmey buried a jumper from long range to clinch it.

Kilburn-Steveskey refused to blame the power outage for lost momentum.

''I'm not one for excuses,'' she said. ''We didn't rebound, we didn't dive for loose balls and we didn't play as hard as we should have at certain times. That was the difference in the game.''

With the unusual victory, James Madison avenged its lone league loss of the season, 63-62 against Hofstra last month.

''It was a strange game,'' Brooks acknowledged, ''but nonetheless I liked the outcome.''

A first half of horrid shooting by both teams ended with the Dukes up 24-23.

Hall went 0 for 10 with five turnovers and spent the final six minutes on the bench.

The Dukes missed 22 of their first 29 attempts but led 16-8 with 12 1/2 minutes elapsed because Hofstra was 3 for 17 with nine turnovers. After a timeout by Kilburn-Steveskey, the Pride got six points apiece from Elo Edeferioka and Jakelle King-Gilchrist in a 12-2 run.

ALL TOURNAMENT

Gwathmey was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament. The five others on the All-Tournament team: Hall; Edeferioka; Lauren Okafor (JMU); Krystal Luciano (Hofstra); and Courtni Green (Delaware).

TIP-INS:

James Madison: The Dukes improved to 8-8 in the CAA title game. ... JMU has won 38 of its last 40 games against league foes, including postseason. ... In spite of her poor shooting, Hall moved into ninth place on the school career list with 1,478 points. Her run of successive games in double figures ended at 17.

Hofstra: The Pride has not allowed a team to shoot 50 percent in 63 straight games. JMU went 23 for 68 (34 percent). ...The Pride fell to 9-17 all-time against JMU. ... Hofstra went 1 for 9 from beyond the arc, the lone 3 coming from Loftus with 38 seconds left.

UP NEXT

James Madison: NCAA Tournament.

Hofstra: Expecting a trip to WNIT.

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