Dukes overcome early deficit to knock off Georgetown

The James Madison women's basketball team defeated Villanova, 56-52, Saturday evening.
The James Madison women's basketball team defeated Villanova, 56-52, Saturday evening.(WHSV)
Published: Nov. 21, 2019 at 10:16 PM EST
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Devon Merritt and Kamiah Smalls combined for 42 points to give James Madison women’s basketball a 66-59 win over Georgetown on the road on Thursday night. The Dukes improved to 4-1 overall while Georgetown dropped to 1-3.

The Dukes had two players score in double figures, led by Merritt and Smalls, who both had 21 points. Kayla Cooper-Williams added six points and two blocks.

JMU did a great job crashing the offensive glass, pulling down 12 boards that resulted in 10 second chance points.

The JMU defense held Georgetown shooters to only 31.6% from the field.

How it Happened

After falling behind 7-5, JMU went on a 5-0 run with 7:44 left in the first quarter, culminating in a bucket from Smalls, to take a 10-7 lead. The Dukes then surrendered that lead and entered the second quarter down 18-14.

Georgetown kept adding to that lead, building a 33-16 advantage before JMU went on a 6-0 run, highlighted by a three from Nikki Oppenheimer, to narrow its deficit to 33-22. The Dukes continued to chip away, reducing the Georgetown lead to 41-31 heading into the break.

After intermission, JMU cut its deficit to 45-37 before going on a 7-0 run, punctuated by a basket from Cooper-Williams, to trim its deficit to 45-44 with 2:36 to go in the third. The Dukes kept the rally going and took control on a Jackie Benitez three-pointer with 00:34 left for a 48-47 advantage heading into the fourth quarter. JMU took advantage of seven Georgetown turnovers in the quarter, scoring eight points off of takeaways.

JMU kept widening that lead, expanding it to 58-56 before going on a 6-0 run, finished off by Merritt's jumper, to grow the lead to 64-56 with 3:25 to go in the contest. The Hoyas narrowed the margin somewhat before the game was over, but the Dukes still cruised the rest of the way for the 66-59 win.


--Six points allowed in the third quarter is the least allowed in any frame this season

--Merritt scored a career-high for 21 points hitting nine of 11 from the field and going 3-3 from the charity stripe

--Smalls had her fourth 20-plus point performance in five games

--JMU's 4-1 record is the tied for the best start since going 5-0 in 2013-14. It ties the 2018-29, 2015-16 and 2014-15 seasons

--This marked the first win for JMU when playing at Georgetown. The Dukes were previously 0-2.

--JMU notched their fourth-straight win over the Hoyas

--Smalls is now tied for 11th all-time with field goals made (537) with Mendy Childress

--Smalls now sits alone for 10th all-time with 137 three-point field goals made

--Cooper-Williams is tied for third all-time in the CAA with Tiffany Benson (William & Mary) with 255 blocks

--Second time this season only allowing 2 steals, the other time was against Longwood on Nov. 6

--Benitez now has 199 career steals and stands alone for fifth all-time


JMU will return back to Harrisonburg to take on Liberty on Sunday, Nov. 24. The contest is set to begin at 2 p.m.


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