JMU WBB sets program record in dominant 59-32 Win

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (JMU Athletics) -- The James Madison defense was too much for Robert Morris to handle, as the Dukes cruised to a 59-32 win in both teams' women's basketball non-conference finale inside the Convocation Center on Sunday afternoon.

Jackie Benitez brings the ball up the court for the James Madison women's basketball team.

The Dukes (9-2) held the Colonials (5-6) to 16.2 percent (11-of-68) shooting from the field, an effort that included not allowing RMU to make a field goal in the first quarter (0-of-15), as JMU closed the period without allowing a point for the first time in program history.

Additionally, JMU secured eight steals and a season-high 10 blocks to limit any hopes for Robert Morris trying to find its offensive rhythm.

Senior Jackie Benitez led the way with a season- and game-high 21 points, knocking down four treys alongside a season-high four rebounds. Senior Lexie Barrier chipped in 10 points, a season-high five assists, four rebounds and a season-high three steals.

Senior Kayla Cooper-Williams produced a very balanced game with nine points and season highs in rebounds (17), blocks (seven), assists (two) and steals (two).

How it Happened
James Madison leaned on its defense for the first quarter, keeping the Colonials at bay and taking a 9-0 lead after the first. JMU kept its first quarter lead intact, then went on an 11-0 run starting at the 8:00 mark in the second period to increase its lead to 20-3.

The Dukes tacked on six more points which included a buzzer-beater by Barrier to take a 26-7 lead at the break. Going into halftime, JMU held RMU to 2-of-30 shooting (6.6 percent) from the field.

Robert Morris stuck with the Dukes briefly in the second half but JMU found its offensive rhythm as well putting up 33 second-half points to hold on for the non-conference finale victory and improve to 6-0 all-time against Robert Morris.

Quick Hits
- Senior Kamiah Smalls moved up to ninth all-time in career points after dropping 10 tonight with 1,557, passing Jazmon Gwathmey (2012-16 | 1,555)
- JMU secured a 57-48 edge in rebounds, marking the most boards this season for the Dukes
- For the second time this season, James Madison posted 90% percent or better from the line when attempting at least 10 free throws, as the Dukes shot 90.9% (10-of-11) on the day

Up Next
James Madison opens Colonial Athletic Association play when the Dukes welcome William & Mary to the Convocation Center. Tip is set for 7 p.m. on Jan. 3.