HARRISONBURG, Va. -- James Madison women’s basketball defeated in-state foe Virginia Tech 70-66 to advance to the WNIT Quarterfinals. This is the first time for the Dukes in the Quarterfinals since 2013.
In a game that had seven ties and 14 lead changes it, the flow of the game would sway back and forth between James Madison (28-5) and Virginia Tech (22-12). Aneah Young and Logan Reynolds pushed the Dukes forward to a 14-11 lead early. The Hokies would come right back and lead by one, 17-16 after a final possession layup by Regan Magarity.
Virginia Tech hit their third from behind the arc to go ahead 20-16. Kamiah Smalls scored 10 of the Dukes 18 points in the second quarter to keep JMU right in the mix. The Dukes were down by one with three seconds before the half, and Smalls took a trey that was on the mark but just too low to trail 35-34. This was only the seventh game the Dukes trailed at the break and the fourth time they would eventually come back.
Reynolds continued to put on a show and opened the third quarter with a three-point opportunity to put the Dukes up 37-35. The flow would continue to go back and fourth with the Dukes laying down even scoring throughout the third quarter. JMU compiled 23 points with six different players adding to the scoring in the frame. Reynolds ended the frame with a last possession bucket as the Dukes led the Hokies 57-52.
It would be an intense final quarter as the two Virginia teams battled. Leading through most of the fourth quarter the Dukes fought on defense. Taylor Emery, who finished with 21 points, drained a three to put Virginia Tech up by one, 66-65, with under a minute to play. Smalls would put the Dukes back in front hitting two from the charity stripe. Benitez would also hit a free throw following a huge stop by Young on the defensive end. Benitez missed the second free throw but Reynolds was able to secure it before being fouled with less than a second on the clock. Reynolds would hit both to secure the Dukes victory 70-66.