Second Half Surge Propels JMU Women's Basketball Past Drexel

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PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (JMU Athletics) -- James Madison women's basketball outscored Drexel 30-11 in the second half to pick up its second conference victory 51-35. The Dukes have now started league play 2-0 for the third straight season.

Drexel (8-5, 0-2) opened the game on a 6-0 run and held the Dukes (10-3, 2-0) scoreless for almost half the quarter. JMU came alive with the help of Kayla Cooper-Williams who put in five points as JMU trailed the Dragons 12-10 after one quarter played.

The Dukes went on a 6-0 run of their own to take the first lead of the game 18-16. However, the Dragons continued to battle and exchange baskets with JMU. Devon Merritt poured in six points in the frame to keep the Dukes within reach. JMU trailed at the half, 24-21, for the third time this season.

JMU came out of the locker room and turned the jets on. The Purple and Gold knocked down three from behind the arc going 60-percent during the frame (3-5) to take the lead. A lead they would never relinquish. JMU held Drexel to just seven points in the frame and led 36-31 with 10 minutes to play.

James Madison continued to pour it on in the final frame outscoring the Dragons 15-4. Drexel scored no field goals in the frame, earning all four points from the charity stripe. Lexie Barrier scored seven of her 12 points in the fourth quarter to seal the Dukes victory 51-35.

Third straight season starting 2-0 in league play
A season-long four-game win streak and longest since last season (11)
Cooper-Williams tallied one block (170) and is just one rejection shy of tying second on the All-Time Blocks list (171)
This marked the fourth opponent held under 40 points this season, which is the most since the 1973-74 season when they held seven under 40
The 35 points allowed is the fewest this season and fewest since Dec. 29, 2013, when they held Ohio to 33
Cooper-Williams recorded her second double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds
She now has three straight games grabbing 10 or more rebounds
This was the 5th most points scored against Drexel this season – the four more were also losses for the Dragons
The Dragons did not block any JMU shots for the first time since Radford on March 17, 2018
All JMU victories this season have been by double-digit scoring
This marked only the third time trailing at halftime, but the first time coming back and winning when trailing
Drexel was No. 9 in this past week Mid-Major Top 25, while the Dukes are No. 17

JMU outrebounded its 10th opponent this season 46-28
This was the seventh game where three players scored in double figures
Kamiah Smalls, Barrier and Cooper-Williams all scored 12 points
Cooper-Williams recorded a game-high 11 boards
Smalls and Logan Reynolds dished out five assists a piece
Devon Merritt recorded a game-high two blocks and is now up to 14 on the season

JMU will host Hofstra in the conference home opener on Friday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m.