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Monarchs Fall 72-64 at JMU on Saturday

Kevin Warner/JMU Athletics

HARRISONBURG, Va. – It was another setback for the Old Dominion women's basketball team on Saturday afternoon as the Monarchs fell 72-64 to James Madison.

With the loss, ODU falls to 12-5 overall and 4-3 in Sun Belt play.

"Tonight's loss was hard to bear when we have 28 more possessions than our opponent and still lose," said ODU head coach DeLisha Milton-Jones. "JMU is too talented not to take advantage of the opportunities we either worked to create for ourselves or the ones they gave to us."

Down 38-34 at halftime, Jordan McLaughlin drew contact on a fast-break layup and made her free throw to get ODU to within three, 40-37 early in the third quarter. The Dukes (14-5, 6-1) then took off with a 9-0 run to pull away. The home team pushed its lead to 56-43 late in the quarter, but a Mimi McCollister layup, a Mikayla Brown free throw and a Brenda Fontana layup cut the deficit to 56-48 heading into the final 10 minutes.

ODU fought back to within five points, 56-51 at the start of the fourth quarter as Fontana went 1-for-2 at the line and Kaye Clark made a jumper in the paint. JMU's Peyton McDaniel responded with a three-pointer and two free throws as the hosts stretched their lead to 10 (61-51) with 7:12 remaining. An En'Dya Buford jumper and layups by Fontana and McLaughlin trimmed the Dukes' lead to 61-57 at the 5:54 mark, but that was as close as ODU would get.

"We fouled extremely too much, which allowed them to get to the free-throw line 38 times to our 18," continued Milton-Jones. "We must address why we are being penalized the way we are."

In the first half, JMU built an early 7-2 advantage before Clark and McLaughlin combined to go 4-for-4 at the free-throw line to make it 7-6. Later in the first quarter, a three from Buford knotted the score at 11-11, but JMU took an 18-13 advantage into the second quarter.

A Fontana three ball from the top of the arc got ODU to within 27-25 midway through the second, but a McDaniel three opened up a 7-0 run. The Dukes went up 38-29 late, but a Buford three and layup in the final minute had ODU trailing 38-34 at halftime.

Buford tied her career high of 18 points as she shot 7-for-16 (.438) from the floor, 2-for-7 (.286) from the perimeter, and 2-for-2 (1.000) at the line. The Memphis, Tennessee native scored 14 of her points in the first 20 minutes and grabbed five rebounds with three assists and three steals. Fontana also reached double figures with 10 points, five rebounds and one block, and Clark turned in nine points with two boards and a pair of steals.

As a team, ODU shot 22-for-71 (.310) from the field, 5-for-29 (.172) from beyond the arc, and 15-for-18 (.833) at the line. Saturday's game featured just one lead change and the Monarchs edged the hosts in points off turnovers (16-12) and second-chance points (16-6). Both teams scored 26 points in the paint.

"Overall, this game will make us a better team after we dissect the points of emphasis we need to improve upon," said Milton-Jones.

ODU will be back in Chartway Arena next week as they host App State on Thursday and Georgia State next Saturday.