JMU women claim CAA regular season title

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HARRISONBURG, Va. -- James Madison women’s basketball captured the one seed in the CAA tournament next week and the regular season title with a 58-47 victory over Drexel. The Dukes improved to 24-4, 16-1 in CAA play. Jackie Benitez scored a season high 18 points to lead the Dukes and was one of two in double figures.

JMU started the first quarter with a 4-0 run and increased their lead to 8-5 thanks to points from Logan Reynolds and Devon Merritt. The Dukes would continue to push the issue jumping on an 11-0 run and led after the first 15-5. Coming out of the first quarter JMU shot 50% from the field and held Drexel to 3-of-11 shooting (27.3%).

In the second quarter the Dukes would maintain the lead and finish the half on a 4-0 run to lead 25-16 at halftime. Drexel came out of the gates fast, going on a 4-0 run to start the third quarter. The Dukes would settle down and pull ahead on a 12-2 run to push the lead to 37-23. During that time JMU was 5-of-5 from the floor. Benitez hit three threes’ in the third quarter to extend the Dukes lead to 42-30.

The Dukes would score 16 in the final frame to complete the victory and claim the regular-season title. The Dukes defeated Drexel 58-47.

GAME NOTES
--Kayla Cooper-Williams moved into Top-10 as she stands eighth all-time with 780
--She also moved into 8th on the blocks in a season by a CAA player with 79
--Jackie Bentiez drained a season-high 18 points, hitting four from behind the arc
--Benitez is one trey away from tying 10th most three’s in a season (70)
--The Dukes committed just eight turnovers for their least amount of the season
--The Dukes claimed the CAA Regular Season Title
--JMU will be the No. 1 seed in the CAA Tournament and will play on Thursday at noon

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Coach O’Regan: “Very proud of them and all our players and the resume they have put together. Seems like they are dealing with every challenge that comes there way. They continue to answer the bell. The Regular Season title is something to be proud of. I’m very happy for them it says a lot about our leadership to stay with that so I am very pleased”

Kamiah Smalls: “That’s the best thing about our team. They can double team me but you’ve got to worry about the four other people on the floor. That’s the biggest threat that comes from us…That’s just one milestone in our big goal. It’s great but it doesn’t give us a boost in the tournament. To have the full thing to be riding the No. 1 seed gives us a little bounce.”

UP NEXT
Dukes host Delaware for the finale game of the regular season on Saturday, Mar. 9. JMU will also have a pregame ceremony for the seniors Logan Reynolds and Aneah Young.