JMU women’s basketball opens its 2018-19 season Thursday at home against George Washington. Here’s everything you need to know before the Dukes take the court.
2017-18 season recap: 23-11 (16-2 CAA), lost to Elon 76-53 in the CAA tournament semifinals
Preseason expectation: Projected to finished first in the CAA by league coaches
Head coach: Sean O’Regan, third season (49-20 record)
Projected starting five: G Logan Reynolds, G Kamiah Smalls, G Lexie Reynolds, F Kelly Koshuta, C Kayla Cooper-Williams
Junior guard Kamiah Smalls:
Smalls was nominated as the 2018-19 CAA Preseason Player of the Year and named to the All-CAA First Team for the second year in a row. She was named the unanimous CAA Rookie of the Year in 2016-17.
JMU’s star guard started all 34 games last season, led the team in minutes (1,078) and points (511) and finished second in assists (87) and steals (54). She scored at least 10 points in all but two games in 2017. Smalls can continue improve her efficiency in her third year — she finished with a team-high 118 turnovers and shot just 40 percent from the floor.
Junior guard Lexie Barrier:
Barrier was named to the 2018-19 Preseason All-CAA First Team. She started all 34 games last season, finished second in minutes (1,061) and third in points (407) and assists (80). Barrier averaged 11.3 points and registered double digit point totals 19 times. Expect to see her offensive role expand even further.
Redshirt junior center Kelly Koshuta:
Koshuta was named to the 2018-19 Preseason All-CAA Second Team after receiving All-CAA Third Team honors last season. She started 26 of 32 games last season and played nearly 20 minutes per game.
As a center, Koshuta provides size to a small team and a strong offensive presence both inside and on the perimeter. She finished second in scoring at 12.9 points per game with a team-high field goal percentage (47.9) and three-point percentage (32.9) with a team-high usage rate of 30.5 percent.
Senior guard Logan Reynolds:
Reynolds started 24 games last season and played over 27 minutes per game. As the team’s primary ball-handler and distributor, she led the team in assists (110) and steals (62). Additionally, Reynolds ranked third in efficiency rating at 8.8 with a team-high assist ratio (31 percent) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.2).
Redshirt junior forward Kayla Cooper Williams:
Cooper Williams started 26 of 34 games last season and played over 20 minutes per game. She provides critical size defensively as a rim protector and is a rebounding force inside. Last season, Cooper Williams led the team in rebounds (251), blocks (71) and efficiency rating at 10.2.
Forward Tasia Butler:
Butler graduated after starting 10 of 32 games and playing 14.8 minutes per game as one of four forwards listed on last year’s roster. Junior forward Devon Merritt is likely to absorb some of Butler’s minutes in an expanded role off the bench.
Guard Hailee Barron:
Barron graduated after starting 13 of 34 games, playing over 21 minutes per game and ranking fourth in assists (50) and third in steals (37). Fortunately for JMU, backcourt depth is a strength. Sophomore guard Tori Harris and a trio of freshmen should replace Barron’s production with Reynolds firmly entrenched as the starter.
Freshman guard Madison Green:
Green appears to be a candidate for a breakout rookie season as a spark off the bench. According to Smalls, “she’s a killer … a lefty with a trigger,” who can knock shots down from outside and provide a scoring spark off the bench. O’Regan said she’ll likely find a role backing up Reynolds, who’s a superior playmaker and distributor, but is less of a natural scorer.
Freshman guard Jaylin Carodine:
Described by O’Regan as “an athletic freak,” Carodine is raw but very talented and will likely see great strides as she continues to develop. A three-star recruit, Carodine led her high school to the 2017 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship and is a two-time D.C state champion. She gives JMU size and can play as a guard with the ability to defend post players.
Freshman guard Eleanore Marciszewski:
Marciszweski is an interesting addition to JMU’s roster as a 6-foot guard who can stretch the floor. A Quebec, Canada, native, she’ll look to expand her role as the season goes along and she adjusts to the pace and physicality of American college basketball.
Contact James Faris at email@example.com. For more basketball coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.