JMU women’s basketball’s season ended after a tough 74-69 loss against the Northwestern Wildcats in the Women’s National Invitational Semifinals, which ended its 31-game win streak. The Dukes were resilient, as they had the deficit down to three, but ultimately came up short in their comeback bid.
Northwestern led for the majority of the game, as it had five players in double figures. Sophomore guard Lindsey Pulliam led the Wildcats with 16 points. Junior forward Abi Scheid presented a matchup problem for the Dukes, as she went 4-for-6 from three and ended with 14 points.
“Tonight, was great for [Scheid’s] confidence, to see her make those shots,” Northwestern head coach Joe McKeown said.
JMU head coach Sean O’Regan talked about the matchup problem Scheid gave them. O’Regan mentioned the Dukes did miss some assignments, which contributed to Scheid having open looks.
“I was upset,” O’Regan said. “Two that I know of was they run a transition ball screen and [senior guard Logan Reynolds] was late on the switch, they kick it back to her, shot. We went through a horn set many times and [freshman guard Maddie Green] didn’t hear or didn’t switch right and give her a three at the top of the key.”
Green had valuable minutes tonight off the bench in crucial stretches. Green finished the game with eight points and two assists.
“In the first half I was a little stagnant, I wasn’t being aggressive as I should be,” Green said. “We got down, I wanted to win and do everything I could to win. So, I kind of picked it up and got my teammates involved and did what I could to make a run.”
Reynold’s effort on the defensive end of the court, especially the last four minutes of the game, is one of the things that helped the Dukes cut a 15-point fourth quarter deficit to three, making the game go down to the wire.
“It was lingering for me,” O’Regan said. “I was playing Maddie because I wanted to score some, and I looked at her with 4:30 left and said, ‘You want this right?’ and she said ‘Yeah,’ and so let’s just go with it and see what happens.” She did what she does, she scraps. That kid is all heart, she scraps, she’s great defensively.”
JMU finished the season tying the program record for wins with a 29-6 record. O’Regan reflected on what this season meant to him in his memory books.
“It actually in a way surprised me, but in another way, I think this team is really good,” O’Regan said. “I think we had a really good combination of things and so, I think that combination helped get us to 29 … I never thought we would get to 29 when we lost to Hofstra, but once we got going in this tournament, I thought we could win the whole thing … It’s pretty cool thing to win 29 games, and I know the last time we did it was the WNIT run too. I want to win 29 next year and be in the NCAA Tournament.”
Contact Brandon Ellis email@example.com. For more basketball coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.