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West Virginia Outlasts James Madison In Overtime

The West Virginia women’s basketball team outlasted James Madison in overtime on Sunday afternoon in Harrisonburg, Virginia, 75-68.

West Virginia was led offensively by junior guard KK Deans’ 17 points and senior forward Kari Niblack’s 15 points while senior guard Madisen Smith also chipped in with double digits with 10 points.

The Mountaineers got on the board first on junior guard Jayla Hemingway’s layup for the 2-0 lead before West Virginia went on a 7-2 run through the opening two minutes of the quarter for the five-point advantage.

James Madison cut into their deficit later into the first quarter as Claire Neff knocked down a three-pointer to make it a 9-7 West Virginia lead. Brianna Tinsley then hit a three-pointer with two minutes left in the first to make it a one-point game, 11-10.

The first quarter concluded with fifth year senior Ari Gray hitting a two-point jumper to give West Virginia the 16-13 advantage heading to the second quarter.

The Mountaineers and Dukes kept pace through the second quarter as a Hemingway layup made it a knotted 19-19 game four minutes into the quarter. James Madison then began to pull away in the second half of the quarter as a Jaylin Carodine layup with two minutes remaining before halftime gave the Dukes an eight-point advantage, 27-19.

West Virginia then scored five straight points to end the half and put the Mountaineers in a three-point hole heading to the second half, 27-24. The final points of the half came on a freshman guard JJ Quinerly two-point jumper following a Deans pair of free throws.

Mountaineer junior forward Esmery Martinez then put in a layup a couple minutes into the second half to give West Virginia the lead again, 30-29. A three-pointer from Jamia Hazell and a two-point jumper from Smith for West Virginia made it a knotted ballgame three minutes into the second half, 34-34.

It remained a tight game through the end of the third quarter as well as Hazell hit another three and fifth year center Blessing Ejiofor drove in for a layup for the 42-42 knotted score with a minute left in the third quarter. Ejiofor and Deans then put up a couple layups to end the third quarter ahead, 46-44.

James Madison came out in the fourth quarter on a 4-2 run and tied up the game on a Neff three-pointer two minutes into the fourth, 48-48. JMU’s Kiki Jefferson then hit a free throw to make it a 51-51 ballgame before senior forward Kari Niblack put up a layup with a minute left in regulation to make it a 60-60 knotted game.

Jefferson then sank a free throw to knot the ballgame at 62-62 with three seconds remaining in regulation to send the game to overtime.

The Mountaineers came out more dominant in the overtime period beginning the period on a 7-2 run which included a few layups from Martinez, Deans and Niblack. JMU then cut into the West Virginia lead.

After a pair of Neff free throws made it a 69-68 ballgame with over a minute left in the overtime period, West Virginia scored the final six points to take the victory over James Madison, 75-68.

The Mountaineers will travel to West Palm Beach, Florida, for the West Palm Beach Invitational against South Florida on Monday, December 20 at 1:15 p.m.

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