Dukes Outlast Northeastern in Hard-Fought Victory

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- James Madison had four players score in double figures and never trailed to earn a 67-54 victory over Northeastern in Colonial Athletic Association women's basketball action inside of the Convocation Center on Sunday evening.

Kamiah Smalls - JMU women's basketball

The Dukes (15-3, 6-1 CAA) outscored the Huskies (8-10, 4-3 CAA) 35-22 in the first and fourth quarters combined including holding Northeastern to 18.8 percent (3-of-16) from the field in the fourth to seal the deal.

Freshman Kiki Jefferson led the way for the Dukes, dropping a game-high 17 points on an efficient 7-of-11 (63.6 percent) from the field to go along with a career-high four steals, two rebounds and two assists.

Senior Lexie Barrier also filled the stat sheet with 15 points on 50 percent shooting (5-of-10), a game-high tying four assists, two rebounds and a block.

Senior Jackie Benitez helped out with 13 points and season highs in steals (three) and rebounds (five) while senior Kamiah Smalls posted 10 points, four assists, a season-high four steals and three rebounds.

How it Happened
JMU started out the scoring by going on 11-2 forcing Northeastern to call an early timeout. The Dukes then lost some of that lead, but still entered the quarter break with a 16-11 advantage. Through the second and third quarters, both teams battled back-and-forth as the Dukes and Huskies scored 32 points apiece (18 in second, 14 in third) to go into the final quarter with a five-point lead (48-43) for JMU.

The Dukes kept widening that lead, expanding it to 56-49 before going on a 5-0 run, finished off by Benitez's three, to grow the lead to 61-49 with 3:21 to go in the contest. The Dukes kept expanding the margin and coasted the rest of the way for the 67-54 win.

Quick Hits
- The Dukes outrebounded their opponent for the fourth consecutive game, this time by a 40-29 margin with the dominant frontcourt duo of sophomore Jaylin Carodine and freshman Rayne Tucker leading the way with a game-high nine boards apiece
- Tucker was also dominant defensively in the paint as the freshman denied four shots (one shy of career high) to help JMU secure six blocks on the night
- JMU shot 42.1 percent (24-of-57) from the field including 40.9 percent (9-of-22) from three on the night to improve to 4-0 in conference play when shooting 40 percent or better from the field

Up Next
The Dukes will hit the road for two crucial matchups beginning with a 7 p.m. contest against Delaware on Friday followed by a 2 p.m. bout against Drexel on Sunday. Drexel currently sits atop the conference with the Dukes.