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    Jefferson Helps JMU Hold Off Liberty, 67-63

    Nov 23, 2022 | Harrisonburg Va | Women's Basketball

    James Madison’s Kiki Jefferson scored 12 of her game-high 20 points during the fourth quarter, including a 10-of-10 effort from the foul line, to help the Dukes withstand numerous Liberty comeback attempts. JMU topped the Lady Flames, 67-63, Wednesday afternoon at the Atlantic Union Bank Center in Liberty’s first road game of the season.

    Liberty falls to 2-2 on the season and just 1-9 all-time in Harrisonburg. The Lady Flames shot just 34.9 percent (22-of-63) on the afternoon, including 23.8 percent (5-of-21) from three-point range.

    JMU moves to 4-2 this year and 14-3 all-time against the Lady Flames. Jefferson was a key reason why, as she contributed 20 points and 12 boards despite shooting just 2-of-9 from the field. Jefferson finished 16-of-17 from the line, setting a Liberty opponent record for most free throws made in a game. As a team, JMU shot 23-of-25 (92 percent), including 13-of-14 (92.9 percent) during the final 10 minutes.

    Box Score Highlights
    Liberty Individuals: Bella Smuda – 12 points, 7 rebounds; Alise Markova – 11 points, 5 rebounds; Emma Hess – 9 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3-9 3FG; Kennedi Williams – 9 points; Mya Berkman – 8 points, 7 rebounds; Dee Brown – 8 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists.

    Other James Madison Individuals: Claire Neff – 14 points, 7 rebounds, 4-7 3FG; Peyton McDaniel – 11 points, 9 rebounds; Jamia Hazell – 10 points.

    Key Team Stats: JMU also struggled shooting from the field (31.1 percent, 19-of-61) and three-point range (31.6 percent, 6-of-19). Two of the nation’s top rebounding teams matched one another in both rebounds (41-41) and points in the paint (26-26). With its top two scorers being reserves, Liberty outscored JMU in bench points, 29-23. Liberty’s 10 turnovers were a season low.

    Turning Point
    Emma Hess briefly gave Liberty a 24-23 lead with a three-pointer on the Lady Flames’ first possession of the second half.

    After being held to four first-half points, Jefferson tallied four during JMU’s ensuing 6-0 burst.

    Jefferson finished with 16 points after the intermission and her team never trailed on the scoreboard again.

    Game Summary
    First Quarter

    • Both teams struggled offensively during the first 10 minutes, as Liberty shot 2-of-17 and JMU was 2-of-15. The Dukes emerged with a 10-6 advantage, aided by a 5-of-5 performance at the foul line.

     Second Quarter

    • JMU opened the second-quarter scoring with back-to-back fast break layups, taking the largest lead of the opening half (14-6) at the 8:12 mark.
    • Bella Smuda got Liberty back into the game with five straight points, and the Lady Flames stayed within five for the remainder of the opening half.
    • Host James Madison held a 23-21 edge after a defense-dominated first half.

     Third Quarter

    • All three of Hess’s made triples came during the third period, including one at the 6:03 mark which tied the score at 32-32. Claire Neff hit a three of her own 21 seconds later, and JMU led the rest of the way.
    • Peyton McDaniel hit two of JMU’s four three-pointers during the period and scored her team’s final eight points as the Dukes took a 48-40 edge into the fourth quarter. James Madison scored more points in the third quarter (25) than it had during the entire first half (23).

    Fourth Quarter

    • Liberty shot 53.3 percent (8-of-15) from the field and hit a pair of triples during a 23-point fourth quarter.
    • A Mya Berkman layup with 2:45 left cut the Lady Flames’ deficit to 55-54 following a 7-0 run. However, JMU was able to keep Liberty from reclaiming the lead by making all 10 of its foul shots during the final 2:31.

    Notes and Nuggets

    • Smuda’s team-high 12 points set a season high, and her seven rebounds matched her season best.
    • Markova scored seven of her career-high 11 points during the final period.
    • Hess has now hit 11 three-pointers in the last three games.
    • Williams scored almost as many points on Wednesday (nine) as she had during the first three games combined (11).
    • Berkman’s seven rebounds give her 673 for her career, tying the redshirt senior with former teammate Keyen Green for 11th place in program history. Berkman has also closed within 32 points of the 1,000 mark for her career.
    • Liberty has not been outrebounded in exactly one year. The Lady Flames last lost the rebounding battle to Memphis on Nov. 23, 2021.
    • Liberty has now alternated wins and losses in its first road game of the year for nine straight seasons, winning in odd years and losing in even years.
    • The Lady Flames have outscored their opponent in bench points in four consecutive games to begin the season, averaging 27 bench points per contest.

    Up Next
    Liberty will remain within the Commonwealth, heading to Charlottesville, Va., for this weekend’s Cavalier Classic. The Lady Flames’ first of two games at John Paul Jones Arena will be a Saturday 5 p.m. contest against East Carolina (4-1).

    Pictured in Main Photo: #25 Alise Markova