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New-look JMU women’s basketball team begins practice

Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 8:53 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Practice is underway for the JMU women’s basketball team as the Dukes prepare for the 2020-2021 season.

JMU held its second official practice Thursday afternoon at the Convocation Center. Members of the local media were allowed to watch from a socially-distanced location while wearing masks.

The Dukes have a new-look squad this season led by sophomores Kiki Jefferson and Rayne Tucker. Jefferson is the reigning CAA Rookie of the Year and considered to be the Dukes' top player. JMU has a number of talented newcomers including transfers Brianna Tinsley (UVA), Anne Diouf (Georgia Tech), and Morgan Smith (Georgetown) along with freshmen Jamiah Hazell, Peyton McDaniel, and Steph Ouderkirk, who starred at nearby Spotswood High School.

While the Dukes have talent, they are still working on building team chemistry in the early part of the season.

“It’s going to take some time," said Jefferson. "You can kind of see like spurts where these two people work good together or this group of five works good together but we are still trying to find that whole connection within the whole team.”

Tucker added: "“We’re still coming together very well. There’s still certain things that we have to get to know about each other like how somebody wants the ball passed, little stuff like that.”

Despite losing programs stars like Kamiah Smalls, Lexie Barrier, and Kayla Cooper-Williams to graduation, the Dukes are again considered to be one of the top teams in the CAA and should compete for a fourth straight regular-season conference title.

“It’s a very fresh group and they are hungry," said JMU head coach Sean O’Regan. "They are all vying, they are all competing for spots and that’s been fun to watch.”

JMU is hoping to play its season opener on November 25, the first night teams are allowed to compete during the 2020-2021 season.

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