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Kiki Jefferson celebrates an "and one" against Queens (N.C.) in the 89-48 win Sunday afternoon. 

Junior forward Kseniia Kozlova, standing at 6-foot-4, made it look easy. She batted away the ball as it headed toward JMU’s rim, tapping the ball from going out of bounds. Junior forward Claire Neff did the same thing on a similar-looking play a few minutes later.

The defensive effort capped off a 14-0 run in the fourth quarter to close out an 89-48 win over Queens University of Charlotte on Sunday for JMU women’s basketball’s first home win of the season.

“It's something that has to become just part of our DNA,” head coach Sean O’Regan said. “I was pleased with our effort inside that purple area.”

After having a difficult reality face the Dukes in their 58-56 loss to Maine on Nov. 7, JMU focused on consistency Sunday, particularly on defense. It resulted in out-rebounding Queens 51-21, and freshman guard Amira Williams, senior guard Kiki Jefferson and Neff all corralled seven each.

“I think it was just extra emphasis on communication,” Neff said. “I think that we communicate well as a team. But we got to, we realized that we have to communicate better as a team to get to where we want to be.”

On top of the rebounding efforts, multiple momentum-changing moments in the first quarter drove home the energy for the Dukes’ win. JMU opened the game on a 7-0 run and held the Lions to 13 points by the end of the quarter.

Jefferson converted a last-second layup off a cut with less than half a second in the opening frame that gave JMU the shot in the arm it needed for the rest of the game.

“Momentum is crazy,” Jefferson said. “It was just the energy that my teammates needed.”

From there, O’Regan said he still wanted the team to focus on their rebounding and defense but was pleased to have two straight games where every player he put in the game scored at least once.

A few younger Dukes got opportunities to play significant minutes as well, helping O’Regan learn the team’s identity moving forward, he said. It was meant to get everyone’s “feet wet,” as JMU head coach Sean O’Regan described it, before what lies ahead for the Dukes in the near future.

“That was part of the reason we did the Millersville thing,” O’Regan said, “knowing you have freshmen and getting their feet wet a little bit. And I was glad we had a similar outcome with this because it's at home.”

JMU out-performed Queens in almost every statistical category Sunday, and in some cases doubled the Lions, including in rebounding, second-chance points and points in the paint.

JMU travels to Longwood on Thursday for a 7 p.m. matchup, before hosting UNC on Sunday afternoon.

“I feel like that was our defensive intensity,” Williams said, “and we just really bought into what we were taught to do. And that was protective paint. So really, we bought into that ideal and executed.”

Contact Madison Hricik at breezesports@gmail.com. For more sports coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.