JMU Women’s Basketball’s Season Ends with Loss to Northwestern

Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications

By Bennett Conlin (This content was originally published in our newsletter)

Season ends in heartbreak – JMU came close to making the WNIT Championship game, but turnovers ultimately doomed the Dukes in their 74-69 loss to Northwestern.The Dukes’ season ends with a 29-6 overall record. The 29 wins ties a program record, although I’m sure the players are going to wish they had a few games back.

JMU barely missed the NCAA Tournament and ultimately fell short in the WNIT, despite a good run.While there were disappointing moments, it’s hard to view the overall body of work as anything other than a success. Twenty-nine wins is nothing to scoff at, and most of the team returns next season. 

About next year – The expectations are going to be high. This program is known for its consistent success, and Sean O’Regan enters his fourth year without an NCAA Tournament appearance. Given three successful years that came up just shy of NCAA Tournament appearances, he’s nowhere close to being on the hot seat or anything outlandish like that, but he’s a competitive guy leading a competitive roster. They’re going to want to get over the hump and make the NCAA Tournament, regardless of whatever outside expectations are thrown their way. Here’s a look at next year’s potential starting five:

PG: Madison Green (sophomore next season)
SG: Kamiah Smalls (senior)
SF: Lexie Barrier (senior)
PF: Devon Merritt (senior)
C: Kayla Cooper-Williams (redshirt senior)

Add in redshirt-senior guard Jackie Benitez off the bench, and the Dukes will have the CAA’s best roster by a mile. This doesn’t even begin to get into the rest of the young talent coming off the bench. Expectations are going to be high, and O’Regan and company are going to have a chip on their shoulder with the way this season ended. That’s an exciting combination for JMU fans. 

Goodbye, seniors – JMU loses Logan Reynolds and Aneah Young to graduation. Neither player was an elite scorer, but both meant a ton to the program. JMU prides itself on defense, and Reynolds and Young were two of the team’s best defenders in recent memory. They both rebounded well and played with high energy regardless of the score. They’ll be missed by fans. 

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