HARRISONBURG, Va. (WAVY) — Star player Kiki Jefferson matched a career-high with 31 points to lead JMU women’s basketball to an 84-69 win over UVA to start the season Tuesday night.
It’s the second straight season JMU has beaten UVA, and the fourth time in the past five matchups.
Jefferson added 11 boards and a steal as the Dukes officially christened their new $100-million-plus Atlantic Union Bank Center in front of a boisterous crowd. The arena first opened in the fall of 2020, but the 8,500 capacity venue was limited to just 250 people.
It was a much different atmosphere on Tuesday night, with more than 1,200 students (the most for the JMU women since they started tracking those numbers) and 3,766 fans total.
JMU sophomore Jamia Hazell added 17 points and sophomore Claire Neff had 14 points and 7 rebound, as both showed tremendous potential to be key pieces alongside Jefferson. The 6-foot-2 Neff shot 3-for-5 from deep but also showed toughness crashing the boards. Hazell, who started 12 games as a freshman, played 37 minutes. She told the Daily News Record’s Shane Mettlen she really focused on her conditioning in the offseason.
Sophomore forward Annalicia Goodman from Newport News had her first career start and played 21 minutes, with 7 points and 6 rebounds. Freshman Mikaya Tynes from Norfolk got in the game for five minutes and scored a bucket and grabbed 3 rebounds.
On the other side, forward Camryn Taylor was a force for the Cavaliers, carrying the team with 27 points and 7 rebounds on 10-15 shooting.
The Dukes are ineligible for the CAA championship this year due to their move to the Sun Belt Conference, but an at-large bid to NCAA Tournament is still possible. They could pick up a huge postseason resume win on Sunday when No. 4 Maryland comes to town at 2 p.m. The JMU men play Old Dominion at home on Saturday at 4 p.m.