JMU Women’s Basketball Defeats Coastal Carolina Despite Key Absences

Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications

By Daniel Merriman

JMU women’s basketball (18-9, 10-4 SBC) defeated Coastal Carolina 73-60 on Saturday, earning a double-digit victory on Senior Day. The Chanticleers went down by 15+ for the majority of the second half as the Dukes established firm control during the second and third quarters. 

JMU bounces back after losing two straight to Ball State and Sun Belt foe Georgia State. JMU was without star center Kseniia Kozlova as well as key contributing forward Hevynne Bristow.

Kozlova was in a boot and was driving a scooter on the sideline. Bristow was also in a boot, but she was walking on her rolled ankle. No update was provided for Kozlova, but head coach Sean O’Regan did say that he was optimistic about Bristow returning by possibly as early as Thursday against Georgia Southern.

Even with two standouts missing, the Dukes still outrebounded Coastal by 21 and won comfortably. Here are some key takeaways after JMU’s Senior Night. 

Tale of the tape

The Dukes found themselves in a hole after one quarter of play. JMU was down by three because it was inefficient from the floor and not getting consistent stops. Coastal threw a triangle and two defensive look at James Madison. The Dukes started in zone defense and eventually switched into man to man coverage. 

The stops eventually came and it allowed JMU to open up a lead following this switch.

The second quarter started and the Dukes’ energy increased, shots started to fall, and there were excellent stretches of rebounding. JMU outscored Coastal by 22 in the second and third quarters combined. The Dukes coasted to a 13-point triumph over the Chants.

Editor’s note: Thanks to Christopher William Jewelers for their advertising support.

McDaniel has McDouble Double

Peyton McDaniel contributed more to winning than anyone else on the court. Her outside shot was falling, and she was the best rebounder in the contest. Her 13 rebounds led all players. She was also the game’s top scorer at 22 points.

She exuded confidence throughout all four quarters. Her veteran leadership and stellar play will be needed heading into the SBC conference tournament.

“She is phenomenal,” O’Regan said. “She has now fallen into a really good rhythm with her confidence. She’s not thinking about anything, she is just playing.”

The road ahead

James Madison has a tough stretch of basketball ahead of it. The Dukes will be on the road for their final four conference games, including a major test at Old Dominion on March. JMU is currently the third-best team in the SBC and is three games back from first place in the conference. The conference leader Marshall has lost only one game in SBC play and that was against the Dukes.

JMU needs to hold a spot inside the top four to secure a double bye in the SBC tournament down in Pensacola, Florida. The Dukes hold a one-game cushion over the league’s fifth-place team.

Regardless of the injury situation, O’Regan was confident in his squad heading into the SBC tournament because of their maturity and experience.

“Whatever you throw at us, it doesn’t phase us … the maturity will help us stay calm through that, and solve that as a team,” O’Regan said. “More than even a staff can sometimes.” 

The poise and experience this squad displays should help weather the storm while major injuries are affecting their rotation. If the Dukes are healthy, they should be a major threat in Pensacola.

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