HARRISONBURG, Va. (JMU Athletics) -- James Madison completed its home schedule with an unblemished record for the seventh time in school history with a 56-51 come-from-behind victory against Delaware in Colonial Athletic Association women's basketball action on Saturday afternoon at the JMU Convocation Center.
The Dukes ended the regular season with a 25-4 overall record and 17-1 mark in CAA play, while the Blue Hens fell to 16-14 and 11-6.
Delaware opened the game on an 8-2 run, but behind a 13-0 run, capped off by 3-pointers from Jackie Benitez and Lexie Barrier, put the Dukes up 15-8. JMU led 17-10 at the end of the first with defensive help from Kayla Cooper-Williams, who had two blocks, and Logan Reynolds, who swiped three steals.
The Blue Hens were able to take the lead 20-19 following an 8-0 run early in the second. JMU scored just three points in the frame to trail 22-20 at the break, just their sixth game trailing at halftime.
The Blue Hens used another 6-0 run to jump ahead 31-24 in the third quarter, their largest lead of the game, but Madison Green converted three from the free-throw line and drained a three from the top of the key to tie the game at 33 with 1:33 left in the quarter. Devon Merritt added a jumper, and the Dukes regained the lead, 35-33, with one quarter to play.
Benitez went 6-6 from the charity stripe in the final frame to finish with a game-high 17 points. The Dukes scored 11 of their 21 fourth-quarter points from the free-throw line to rally for the five-point win.
This is JMU's best record before the CAA Women's Basketball Championship (25-4) since 2014-15, when the Dukes were 26-3
JMU is boasting their best record since 2016-17 (26-9)
JMU rallied for its third win this season when trailing at halftime
The Dukes recorded 50+ rebounds for the sixth time this season (51)
Reynolds has 186 career steals and is now 10th all-time at JMU
Benitez has drained 72 treys this season, which is the 10th-most in JMU single-season history
Devon Merritt grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds, while Cooper-Williams grabbed 13
Cooper-Williams is tied for eighth all-time at JMU with 793 rebounds
Benitez went 6-for-6 from the free throw line, marking the first time a JMU player made at least five without a miss since Lexie Barrier was 5-for-5 on Feb. 22, 2019 at Elon
JMU ends the regular season with a 27-game home win streak dating back to last season
This is the seventh time in program history JMU finished the season undefeated at home
This marked the 10th time finishing with either one or no losses in CAA play
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
Coach O'Regan: "Really gutsy performance for us and to do that against a good team that's playing really well is pretty impressive and one of the better tests of adversity we've faced all year. You can see the effects of Kamiah being out. Even in the third it took us a while to get going, in the end, they had winning in their blood and they were going to win."
Logan Reynolds: "We take pride in our defense that's what we say and do and what it comes off as. Even though our shots didn't fall we got back on defense, we didn't hang our heads.
Madison Green: "I was in the moment. I wanted to do it for the seniors. I wanted to come out there and give it everything I have."
The Dukes head to Newark, Del., for the CAA Women's Basketball Championship next week, where they will be the No. 1 seed. JMU faces the winner of No. 8 Elon and No. 9 Hofstra in the quarterfinals on Thursday, March 14 at noon.