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JMU women's basketball guard Steph Ouderkick chest bumps forward Mya Kone during the Dukes' season opener against Maine. 

From dancing to clapping and even barking on the Dukes’ sideline during their game Nov. 7 against Maine, JMU women’s basketball brought all of its energy to help motivate the team during its home opener despite the loss. 

The Dukes didn’t receive the result they wanted as a last-second layup handed JMU its first loss of the season, 60-58. But despite the result,, the energy and encouragement from the team still shined through.

“I feel like the energy is better,” JMU head coach Sean O’Regan said in regard to last season. “Including the bench energy. I thought that even some of the freshmen coming off the bench in their first game, I thought it was good.”

Throughout the entire game, the bench was constantly active. Whenever the Dukes performed well on the court, the rest of the team celebrated for the and remained optimistic. 

The team often speaks about the idea of getting “1% better every day.” With the changes that come this season — playing in a new conference with new players who transferred in — the Dukes want to continue to work together as a team, both on and off the court. But the work effort and determination isn’t going to evolve overnight. O’Regan said it’ll take time.

“It’s a gradual shift, and hopefully we can stay focused on the process of it all,” O’Regan said. “Through getting to know each other and just continuing to bring enthusiasm because I think that it is so contagious.”

Despite the loss, JMU is keeping its head up. The Dukes bounced back Nov. 9 when it traveled to Pennsylvania to face Millersville, where the Dukes pulled off a 80-39 win against the Marauders. JMU senior guard Kiki Jefferson led the team with 21 points and seven rebounds in her Lancaster, Pennsylvania, hometown. 

The Dukes will host Queens University from Charlotte, North Carolina, on Sunday Nov. 13 at home with hopes to keep their energy buzzing and to get their first home win of the season. 

Contact Kaiden Bridges at Bridg4ke@dukes.jmu.edu. For more women’s basketball coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.