James Madison survived a poor second half to beat George Washington, 67-58, yesterday and advance to the final of GW's invitational women's basketball tournament at Smith Center.
The Dukes (3-2) will meet Temple, a 63-60 winner over St. Joseph's, for the championship today at 3. GW (2-3) plays St. Joseph's for third place at 1.
James Madison led, 39-28, at the half, but L.A. Saunders' 15-footer moved GW to within three, 57-54, with 2:25 to play. Sophomore guard Sue Manelski ensured the win for the Dukes with six free throws late in the game. James Madison made 23 of 27 free throws.
"That's the story of our lives," James Madison rookie Coach Sheila Moorman said of her team's second-half jitters. "We've lost 10-point leads in both the games we've lost. We have to play at such a high intensity to stay with the people we play that we tend to run out of gas in the second half. We don't have a lot of depth."
Depth is a problem for GW, also, with Anne Markle and Myra Kline still out with injuries. "We were in the game," GW Coach Denise Fiore said. "We would have won if we made the little shots . . . You have to score to come back. Kelly (Ballentine) didn't shoot well and the other girls are playing too tentatively on offense. The defense did an outstanding job, but all we can do now is play for third place."
The Dukes rallied from an early 11-7 deficit behind the play of sophomore center Michelle James from Glenelg High School, who had 16 of her team-high 23 points before intermission. James Madison outscored GW, 20-8, over a 10-minute stretch, holding the Colonials scoreless for almost four full minutes.
Ballentine led all scorers with 26 points on 11-for-26 shooting. Maneski scored 19 for the winners, while James pulled down 16 rebounds.
In the Temple-St. Joseph's game, Marilyn Stephens had 21 points and 13 rebounds for Temple (3-1).
In the consolation round, the District of Columbia (3-1) defeated Wagner, 64-62, and Long Island University beat Princeton, 86-82.