Thursday, February 29, 2024

Strong Second Half Pushes JMU Past Tribe Women’s Basketball

(Tribe Athletics)

HARRISONBURG — James Madison used high-percentage shooting in the third and fourth quarters to get the best of William & Mary women’s basketball on Thursday night in Harrisonburg, 75-56.

The Tribe controlled the game early, getting two-point buckets from Nylah Young and Bella Nascimento and a 3-pointer from Kayla Rolph to take a 7-2 lead with 7:21 to go in the first.

Rebekah Frisby-Smith hopped in on the offense minutes later, scoring four of her season-high 11 points consecutively to make it 11-4 W&M.

The Tribe went out to the largest lead they would have all night when Nascimento nailed a jumper with 3:41 remaining in the quarter, making it 17-8.

The transfer guard from Manhattan would lead the Tribe in scoring for the fourth consecutive game, netting 12 points on the evening.

When the first ended, the visiting Green and Gold found themselves in front 20-15 thanks to 8-for-16 shooting in the frame.

The second stanza featured plenty of back-and-forth play with Anahi-Lee Cauley scoring four straight points to make it a 24-18 lead with 8:27 remaining in the half. The lead would hover around six points until the Tribe suffered a cold stretch in the last five minutes of the half.

Nascimento nailed a jumper insider the arc making it a 32-26 game. The shot, which came with 5:15 to play would be W&M’s last made field goal of the half, closing the second quarter missing their last seven shots.

Solid defense limited JMU’s ability to take advantage of the cold stretch, however, with the Tribe taking a 32-31 lead to the locker room at the half.

The Tribe forced the Dukes, a team who only averaged 15 turnovers a game, into 11 first half turnovers, converting most of them into points.

JMU looked like a different team in the second half, getting the ball into the post and using their size advantage to go on a 10-3 run to start the quarter.

The Dukes would control things the rest of the way, leading the entirety of the second half, minus the first possession of the third quarter.

Beckwith, Nascimento and Rolph all hit on shots to make it a one-possession game in the third, but that was as close as the Tribe would get to coming back. JMU found themselves up 52-44 heading into the final quarter.

The Tribe were able to get some offense going early in the fourth, with Young scoring four straight points and Frisby-Smith and Cassidy Geddes hitting from behind the arc, but the Dukes were able to essentially match W&M basket-for-basket, maintaining a multi-possession lead.

JMU, who went 9-for-17 in the fourth quarter used one final run late in the game to make the final score more decisive, winning 75-56.

The Tribe dropped from shooting 42% in the first half to just 32% for the game, while the Dukes went 47% from the floor in the last 20 minutes to spur their second half push.

W&M also wasn’t able to force the JMU mistakes in the second half that they did in the first, only causing four turnovers in the half.

Three Tribe players were in double figures, led by Nascimento’s 12. Rolph had 11 and Young had 10. Alexa Mikeska was scoreless, but played the role of table setter, picking up 4 of the Tribe’s nine assists.

Kseniia Kozlova led all scorers, pouring in 20 points for the Dukes while grabbing eight rebounds.

Up Next

The Tribe takes a week off for final exams before hosting the Longwood Lancers on Dec. 17. Tip is scheduled for 1 p.m. inside Kaplan Arena with the game broadcast on FloHoops.

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