Preseason CAA Player of the Year Kamiah Smalls poured in a career-high 30 points, leading James Madison past Liberty 74-53, Thursday evening at the Vines Center.
The CAA preseason favorite Dukes improved to 5-1 on the season, aided by hot shooting (58.8 percent, 10-of-17) from three-point range.
Conversely, Liberty struggled from the field (33.9 percent, 20-of-59), three-point range (13.3 percent, 2-of-15) and the foul line (55 percent, 11-of-20). As a result, the Lady Flames fall to 1-6 with their fourth consecutive defeat.
Box Score Highlights Liberty Individuals: KK Barbour – 9 points, 12 rebounds; Tatyana Crowder – 8 points; Emily Lytle – 8 points; Ria Gulley – 8 points; Kierra Johnson-Graham – 7 rebounds
James Madison Individuals: Kamiah Smalls – 30 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists; Jackie Benitez – 13 points, 4-5 3FG; Lexie Barrier – 10 points; Kayla Cooper-Williams – 15 rebounds
Key Team Stats: James Madison scored 26 points off of Liberty's 18 turnovers, many of which were the Dukes' 17 fast break points. Liberty became the first team to outrebound the Dukes this season (40-35), achieving season highs in offensive rebounds (23) and second-chance points (25) in the process.
Turning Point James Madison went on a 13-3 run late in the first half, keyed by four triples. The surge bolstered the visitors' lead to 38-21, and Liberty got no closer than 12 points down the rest of the way.
Game Summary First Quarter • The contest started out as a scoring contest between Liberty's KK Barbour and JMU's Kamiah Smalls, as Barbour tallied the Lady Flames' first five points and Smalls accounted for the Dukes' first eight markers.
• The Lady Flames shot just 23.1 percent (3-of-13) in the first quarter while committing five turnovers. As a result, JMU took a 16-10 advantage through 10 minutes of play.
Second Quarter • JMU made 72.7 percent (8-of-11) of its second-quarter field goals, including all five of its three-point tries. The Dukes' hot shooting enabled them to lead by as many as 17 points before taking a 38-23 halftime lead.
• Smalls, who hit two of those triples for the Dukes, finished with 16 points in the first half.
• Liberty ended the opening half at 26.7 percent (8-of-30) from the field and 12.5 percent (1-of-8) from beyond the arc.
Third Quarter • Liberty used a 6-0 run to pull within 12 (52-40) on a pair of Barbour free throws with 1:33 remaining in the quarter.
• Smalls then scored the period's final five points, giving her 27 for the game and pushing JMU's cushion back to 57-40 with 10 minutes to play.
Fourth Quarter • Smalls' final hoop of the night, a driving layup with 4:03 to play, provided JMU its largest lead at 71-45.
• The Dukes got to the foul line 11 times during the final period, making eight of them to help maintain their lead.
Liberty Head Coach Carey Green Quotes "It's certainly disappointing for the players. They shared that in the locker room. Your game will reflect your practices, and yesterday's practice wasn't very good. I'm not very happy at this point in time because we're not reaching our potential and we're not playing up to it. Yes, it's a young team, but you have to quit making those excuses. Young players and young teams can play very hard as well. There are just so many areas in this particular game that we weren't very successful in. So, consequently, we lost to a pretty good JMU team."
Notes and Nuggets • Barbour ended up one rebound shy of her career high and one point shy of her seventh career double-double.
• Lytle (8 points) was held to single digits in the scoring column for the first time in seven games to begin her Liberty career.
• Crowder's eight points were a season high.
• Liberty snapped an uncharacteristic streak of three straight games losing the rebounding battle. The Lady Flames have outrebounded 514 opponents in Carey Green's 615 games as head coach.
• James Madison improved to 12-2 all-time against Liberty. The Dukes have won five straight meetings with the Lady Flames and five consecutive visits to the Vines Center.
• After going 15-0 at home during the 2017-18 season, Liberty has opened the 2018-19 campaign with a 1-2 home record.
• The Lady Flames are 22-9 in their last 31 matchups with in-state opponents but 0-3 (Virginia Tech, Norfolk State and James Madison) this season.
Up Next Liberty will play its next five games away from home, beginning with a visit to ETSU on Tuesday for its second matchup with a SoCon opponent this season. The Lady Flames have won three straight meetings with the Buccaneers, but the two teams have not faced one another since Jan. 13, 2009.
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 Location: Johnson City, Tenn. (Brooks Gym) TV: ESPN+ Radio: LFSN Radio (90.9 FM The Light Lynchburg) Tipoff: 7 p.m.