Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications
By Bennett Conlin (This content was originally published in our newsletter)
Dukes fall in CAA quarters – Well, it looks like we weren’t pessimistic enough in last week’s “worst-case scenario” description. Kamiah Smalls played two minutes, and Lexie Barrier injured her hand almost immediately. JMU’s two best players were on the floor for a combined total of three minutes. The Dukes blew a 10-point halftime lead and lost to a now 11-21 Hofstra team by the final score of 57-50. Woof.
What happened? – Injuries were the big story, but the Dukes blew a 10-point halftime lead they gained without Smalls and Barrier on the floor. JMU shot an abysmal 26.9 percent from the floor and just over 10 percent on three-point shots. That’s awful.
To make matters worse, JMU’s defense struggled in the second half. The Dukes allowed 41 second-half points. Late free throws inflated that number, but the Pride went on an inexcusable 17-0 run in the third quarter. JMU should’ve won this game.
Cause for concern – The Dukes are now 0-3 at winning CAA titles under Sean O’Regan. While this might seem alarming, it’s really not. Elon had a great team the past two seasons, and injuries were the biggest reason the Dukes fell to Hofstra this year. Yes, the shooting against the Pride was a major problem, but does anyone seriously think the Dukes don’t make more than a pair of three-point shots if Smalls and Barrier are healthy? You never like to make excuses, but losing two All-CAA players is a valid excuse for losing.
So, LadySwish, is there a chance JMU earns an at-large berth into the Big Dance?
It’ll be a WNIT berth – We’ll talk more about the postseason outlook next week, but the Dukes aren’t making the NCAA Tournament with their resume.