Cold shooting trips up JMU WBB at Drexel

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PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (JMU Athletics) -- James Madison could not overcome a slow start and dropped a 70-48 decision to Drexel in Colonial Athletic Association women's basketball action on Sunday evening in the DAC.

The James Madison women's basketball team went 4-0 over the last two weekends while playing without standout center Kayla Cooper-Williams.

The Dukes (16-4, 7-2 CAA) were unable to find an offensive rhythm as the team shot a season-low 29.1 percent (16-of-55) from the field while the Dragons (15-6, 8-1 CAA) shot a blistering 48 percent (24-of-50) including a 40-percent clip (10-of-25) from behind the arc.

Senior Jackie Benitez led the way for the Dukes as she scored 13 points alongside three rebounds and a steal. Classmate Kamiah Smalls added 11 points, a pair of boards, an assist, a steal and a block.

Senior Kayla Cooper-Williams was a force on the boards as she grabbed a game-high nine rebounds, three of which coming on the offensive end to go along with five points, and a blocked shot.

Keishana Washington led the way for the Dragons pouring in a career-high 27 points on 6-of-8 shooting (75 percent) from behind the arc off the bench.

How it Happened
JMU struggled out of the gate, falling behind 18-5 at the end of the first quarter going 2-of-18 (11.1 percent) from the field and failed to hit a three-pointer.

Drexel kept adding to that lead, building a 28-9 advantage before JMU went on a 6-0 run, highlighted by a three from Benitez, to narrow its deficit to 28-15. The Dukes continued to chip away, reducing the Drexel lead to 33-22 heading into the break.

JMU came out of halftime on fire, going on a 7-0 run, punctuated by a basket from Cooper-Williams, to trim its deficit to 33-29 with 7:43 to go in the third. Drexel countered and stretched its lead to 44-37 heading into the fourth that it would not let up.

Quick Hits
- Smalls recorded her 95th career double-digit performance which is also her team-leading 18th double-digit outing this season
- JMU was dominant in the middle quarters as the Dukes shot 50 percent (12-of-24) from the field and outscored the Dragons 32-26 but the first and final quarters were the difference

Up Next
The Dukes return to action in a week when JMU welcomes Towson to the Convocation Center for a 2 p.m. game on Sunday, Feb. 9.