JMU avoids upset with close win at Elon

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ELON, N.C. -- James Madison fought back from nine-point second-quarter deficit to defeat Elon, 61-58 in Colonial Athletic Association women’s basketball action inside of the Schar Center on Thursday night.

The James Madison women's basketball team defeated Elon, 61-58, Thursday night.

The Phoenix (12-16, 7-10 CAA) led for the entire game, entering the fourth quarter with a tight 42-38 lead. Trailing 49-45 with 6:26 left, the Dukes (24-4, 15-2 CAA) went on a 9-0 run, six points coming from senior Kamiah Smalls to take their first lead of the game with 2:25 remaining.

Despite leading for the previous 33:11, Elon never let up hope as the Phoenix pulled within one point twice (57-55, 24 seconds; 59-58, eight seconds). JMU inbounded the ball with eight seconds remaining, running down four more seconds before Smalls drew a foul.

Smalls went to the line to sink her seventh and eighth free throws of the night to seal the nail-biting 61-58 victory. The Dukes battled hard in the fourth, sinking 70 percent (7-of-10) of their shots and 80 percent (8-of-10) from the charity stripe.

Smalls nearly posted a double-double in a game-high 24 points alongside a game-high eight rebounds with three assists. Senior Jackie Benitez secured her 19th double-digit outing of the season with 18 points on 60 percent (6-of-10) from the field with three rebounds, a block and a steal.

JMU locked up on defense in the tight contest, securing seven blocks led by senior Kayla Cooper-Williams with a game-high four. Additionally, the Dukes recorded a season-high tying 11 steals with freshman Kiki Jefferson and sophomore Madison Green snatching three apiece.

Quick Hits
- Smalls recorded her 15th 20-point performance of the season, totaling 26 for her career

- Benitez moved to 10th all-time on JMU’s scoring list, as the senior has a total of 1,567 points, passing former Duke and Olympic qualifier Jazmon Gwathmey (2012-16, 1,555)

- Green’s three steals, matched her career high

Up Next
The Dukes close out the regular-season on Saturday when JMU travels to William & Mary for a 2 p.m. contest.