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James Madison Deals Lady Flames Initial Setback Of Season, 74-64
James Madison is now 3-1 after recording its 15th-consecutive home triumph before 1,326 spectators at the JMU Convocation Center. JMU is now 4-0 all-time against the Lady Flames.
Liberty's season record stands at 5-1 after the visitors saw their 10-game road winning skein snapped.
The lead changed hands four times in the first 3:29 of play as both teams were proficient from the field in the early going.
The homestanding Dukes then posted nine-consecutive markers, taking a 17-9 lead on a long three pointer by Tamera Young at the 14:01 mark.
Those were JMU's last points until Jennifer Harris' three pointer at 10:07. Before that connection, the Lady Flames had scored five-straight points, including an old-fashioned three-point play by Moriah Frazee, to close the gap to 17-14.
Liberty got within a single tally, 24-23, on an Allyson Fasnacht three pointer with 5:08 showing on the first-half clock that capped a quick, 5-0 burst.
James Madison tallied the next seven points, four of which were scored by Meredith Alexis. Alexis' bank shot at 2:38 made the count 31-23 in favor of JMU.
The Lady Flames recorded the final seven points of the opening half, closing the halftime deficit to 31-30 on Molly Frazee's three pointer with 39 seconds remaining.
Molly Frazee, making her first career start, paced Liberty with 10 first-half tallies, eclipsing her previous career high with six rebounds. The Lady Flames shot 45.8 percent (11-of-24) from the floor in the first half, but were plagued by 12 turnovers.
Alexis led the Dukes with 10 points in the opening 20 minutes of action. The 6-3 senior also helped JMU achieve an 18-15 rebounding edge with her six caroms. Andrea Benvenuto dished out half a dozen assists in the opening stanza.
The Dukes scored seven of the first eight points of the second half. A shot from the paint by Alexis pushed James Madison's lead up to 38-31 at the 18:14 mark.
James Madison did not attempt its first free throws of the contest until 2:40 had elapsed in the second half. Alexis drained both of her charity tosses, putting the Duke edge at 40-33.
A 9-0 JMU surge, aided by back-to-back Liberty miscues, gave the home team its largest lead up to that point, 51-39, with 11:17 to play. Alexis scored again, this time from the right block, to wrap up the run.
The Dukes led by as many as 15 points on two occasions, the second of which came at 5:18 on a shot by Alexis which made it 64-49.
Liberty notched the next four points of the contest, narrowing the deficit to 64-53 on a Moriah Frazee hoop with 3:52 left in the game.
Michelle Parker totaled 13 second-half markers for the Lady Flames, including a three pointer that made it 68-58, Dukes at the 1:00 mark.
Liberty would be unable to trim the lead back to single digits, though as the home team sank its final six foul shots of the contest to seal the triumph over its in-state rival.
Parker finished with 13 points, leading the Lady Flames with a season high. The senior guard also pulled down five boards and passed out four assists.
Megan and Molly Frazee joined Parker in double figures, tallying 12 and 10 points, respectively. Molly Frazee paced the visitors with seven caroms.
Alexis and Young each tallied double-doubles, the latter posting 16 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and a game-high four steals. They helped James Madison become just the second team this season to outrebound Liberty, 37-34. Seventeen of the Dukes' rebounds were of the offensive variety.
Lesley Dickinson chipped in with 17 points and five assists for JMU, which scored 20 points off of 19 Liberty turnovers.
James Madison will open Colonial Athletic Association play on Sunday as Virginia Commonwealth visits the JMU Convocation Center for a 2 p.m. tip-off.
The Lady Flames will return home to face Virginia Tech Tuesday at 7 p.m. Liberty will be seeking its first-ever win against the Hokies, who have been victorious in all 12 previous head-to-head match-ups.