By: CofC Sports Media
Tyler Collins turned in one of the best performances of her three-year career at an opportune time, scoring 27 points to spark College of Charleston to a dramatic 65-63 win over James Madison on Sunday at TD Arena.
The win gave the Cougars (6-4, 2-2 CAA) a split of the weekend series and their first victory over the Dukes (8-6, 4-3) since February 27, 2014, snapping a 15-game losing streak to the perennial conference power.
Collins hit 11-of-18 from the floor, including both 3-pointers, and all three free throws to set a season high and come within two of her career best. Her driving layup in the lane with 19seconds left capped her outstanding afternoon and gave the Cougars a 65-62 lead after the Dukes cut a 10-point deficit to one.
Kiki Jefferson had an opportunity to tie the game from the charity stripe with four seconds left when she was fouled taking a 3-pointer. But she misfired on the first, made the second and intentionally missed the third, and Arynn Eady secured her game-high 11th rebound to seal the win.
“This was a great team win, and I’m proud of the way out kids stuck together,” said Head Coach Robin Harmony. “We made some mistakes but found a way to get the job done. Our players should feel really good about themselves. It is also great for the future of the program to see that we can beat the best.”
Eady continued to be a rejection machine, blocking five shots to give her 20 in the last five games. She also increased her career rebounding total to 568 and needs two more to break into the Top 10 in school history.
Jamia Hazell led JMU with 19 points, followed by Jefferson with 15 and Rayne Tucker with 14.
Led by Eady, the Cougars held a 38-33 edge on the glass after being outrebounded by 16 on Saturday. CofC also limited the Dukes to 39.2 percent shooting and forced 16 turnovers including five steals by Amira Williams. Williams also contributed on the boards with eight.
The Cougars never led in Saturday’s game but trailed for only 1:26 in the series finale after erasing an early 3-0 JMU lead with a 15-0 run. Collins scored the final nine points of that surge and had 14 overall in the first half to give CofC a 31-23 lead at the break.
JMU battled back from a 13-point third quarter deficit to tie the game at 45, but again the Cougars proved resilient. Two free throws by Chelsea Wooten and a steal and layup by Williams gave CofC a 49-45 lead after three, and Tyler Gray made it 60-50 when she drained a 3-pointer with 4:46 remaining.
The Dukes didn’t go away easily, however, scoring 12 of the next 15 points, making it 63-62 on two free throws by Jaylin Carodine and setting the stage for the thrilling ending.
The Cougars are on the road for their next two CAA series, playing at Towson next weekend and Elon on February 13-14.
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