HARRISONBURG, Va. (JMU Athletics) -- Senior duo of Kamiah Smalls and Jackie Benitez combined to score 41 points leading James Madison to a 69-64 senior day victory over Delaware in Colonial Athletic Association women's basketball action in the final regular-season game ever at the Convocation Center.
The Dukes (23-4, 14-2 CAA) overcame a slow start that saw the Blue Hens (10-17, 6-10 CAA) hold nine-point lead after the first 10 minutes, to extend their win streak against Delaware to 16 games.
Smalls led the way with a game-high 21 points on an efficient 50 percent (5-of-10) shooting from the field and a perfect 10-of-10 from the charity stripe. Smalls added eight rebounds and four assists to her stat line.
Benitez eclipsed the 20-point mark for the fourth time this season as the senior dropped 20 points, knocking down six three-pointers to go along with a pair of boards and two steals. Freshman Rayne Tucker posted her first career double-double in 11 points and a team-high 10 rebounds while senior Lexie Barrier added a full stat line with 10 points, three rebounds and three assists.
JMU was all over the place defensively as the Dukes outrebounded Delaware 48-33 and blocked seven shots led by senior Kayla Cooper-Williams' four rejections followed by Tucker blocking three.
How it Happened
JMU struggled out of the gate, falling behind 13-4 at the end of the first quarter. The Dukes were held to only two made field goals (2-of-14, 14.3 percent) in the first 10 minutes.
JMU battled hard to begin the second quarter, cutting the Blue Hens' lead to 22-19 before going on a 7-0 run, highlighted by a bucket from sophomore Jaylin Carodine, to take a 26-22 lead. The Blue Hens cut into that lead, but the Dukes still enjoyed a 30-27 advantage heading into halftime.
Following intermission, the Dukes continued to expand their advantage, pushing it to 40-33 before going on an 8-0 run to take a 48-33 with 4:21 to go in the third. Before the conclusion of the third period, the Blue Hens fought back some but the Dukes still entered the fourth quarter with a 49-41 edge.
JMU kept its lead intact before going on a 7-0 run, finished off by Smalls' jumper, to grow the lead to 59-46 with 5:17 to go in the contest. The Blue Hens narrowed the margin somewhat before the game was over, but the Dukes still held on for the 69-64 win.
- JMU women's basketball closed the Convocation Center with a 444-94 (82.5 winning percentage) all-time record
- Smalls recorded her 25th career game with 20 or more points
- Nearly a third of the Dukes' rebounds came on the offensive end as JMU secured 15 offensive boards that led to 27 second-chance points
- The Dukes cashed in from the free-throw line, sinking 18-of-19 attempts to post a season-high 94.7 free-throw percentage
JMU will hit the road to close out the 2019-20 regular season as the Dukes will face Elon on Thursday at 7 p.m. then wrap up the regular-season slate with a 2 p.m. bout against in-state rival William & Mary on Saturday.