Dukes preparing for crucial stretch before postseason

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HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Four games remain in the regular season for the James Madison women's basketball team.

James Madison Women's Basketball 2019-2020

The Dukes, who are currently in second place in the CAA standings, have won five straight games. The recent victories have come, on average, by 31.2 points per game.

However, JMU's schedule gets tougher over the next two weeks. The Dukes welcome CAA-leading Drexel to Harrisonburg Friday night before hosting Delaware Sunday afternoon. JMU wraps up its regular season schedule the following week on the road at William & Mary and Elon. All four of JMU's opponents are currently within the top seven spots of the conference standings.

"Winning games by 30+ points the last five games hasn't really tested us in late games," said JMU head coach Sean O'Regan. It has tested us in other ways...I would love to be able to play the CAA Tournament and win by 30 but we all know that's not going to happen so I am not shying away from that challenge of playing a closer game."

JMU and Drexel are scheduled to meet Friday night at 7 p.m. at the Convocation Center. The Dragons defeated the Dukes, 70-48, on February 2 in Philadelphia, PA.

JMU projected as at-large team in NCAA Tournament
In the latest projections from ESPN Bracketology, James Madison is listed as the last at-large team in the NCAA Tournament. The Dukes are projected as the 12-seed in the Portland Region.

JMU can earn an automatic bid to the tournament by winning the CAA Tournament.

Jefferson & Smalls earn CAA weekly awards
Courtesy JMU Athletics
For the third time this season, senior Kamiah Smalls and freshman Kiki Jefferson have swept the Colonial Athletic Association weekly honors as announced by the league on Monday afternoon.

Smalls was named CAA Player of the Week for the fourth time this season while Jefferson earned CAA Rookie of the Week for the second time in as many weeks and eighth time this season.

Smalls led the charge in JMU’s 2-0 weekend as she averaged team highs in points (22.5), rebounds (9.0) and assists (4.5) per game. Over the weekend, Smalls shot a blistering 46.9 percent (15-of-32) from the field including going a perfect 11-of-11 from the free throw line.

Her best outing came against Hofstra when she posted a game-high 20 points and a game- and career-high 14 rebounds alongside four assists, her third 20-point, 10-rebound double-double of the season. Additionally, Smalls racked up a game-high 25 points against Northeastern, her fifth 25-point performance.

Jefferson was dominant all weekend as the freshman posted a 64.3 shooting percentage (9-of-14) including 75 percent (3-of-4) from three to average 14.5 points per game and only missed one free throw (8-of-9) in JMU’s 2-0 weekend.

The freshman also recorded 5.5 boards, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game. Her better all-around outing came against Northeastern when she nearly dropped a double-double in 13 points on 4-of-6 (66.7 percent) from the field and a game-high seven rebounds with an assist and a steal.