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Drummond Powers Bonnies Past James Madison, 56-45, For Fifth Straight Victory

Box Score (PDF)

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – Sophomore Miranda Drummond delivered the strongest game of her young career, posting her first collegiate double-double with a career-high 25 points and also a personal-best 11 rebounds to power the St. Bonaventure women's basketball team to one of its most impressive victories in recent memory, 56-45, over perennial power James Madison on Monday night at the Reilly Center.

Just over 48 hours removed from a victory over Big East foe Georgetown on Saturday afternoon, the Bonnies again flexed their muscle with their fifth straight triumph to improve to 6-2 on the season. James Madison, the favorites from the Colonial Athletic Association, fall to 5-2.

Drummond finished the night 9-of-12 from the floor including five three-pointers, yet another career-best. Sophomore Mariah Ruff scored 10 of her 11 points in the second half, also dishing out a team-best four assists. Graduate student Emily Michael also tallied a season-high seven points and hauled in career-best 10 rebounds.

"I'm really proud of our effort," Bonnies head coach Jim Crowley said. "Our kids saw an opportunity and they didn't back down from it. We grinded today against a really good basketball team. We shot the three when we needed to and we got ourselves to the line."

The Bonnies shot 43.2 percent from the floor (16-of-37) while limiting James Madison to 23.6 percent (17-72).

A cold start saw both teams go scoreless for the first two and a half minutes before a three-pointer from Drummond and free throw by Gabby Richmond, again playing in place of leading scorer Katie Healy, gave the Bonnies an early 4-0 lead.

The Dukes would later embark on a 12-0 run, taking a 12-7 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

James Madison entered the Monday averaging over 75 points per game while shooting over 44 percent from the floor, but the Dukes never could hit on all cylinders against the Bonnies defense.

Nine straight points from leading scorer Jazmon Gwathmey pushed the lead to 17-9, but a pair of shots from long range by Michael and Drummond sparked the Bonnies with a Michael layup capping off a 10-0 run for a 19-17 edge with 4:29 left in the half.

From there the teams exchanged the lion's share of the total eight lead changes on the night with the Dukes ultimately taking a 25-24 margin to halftime following a trey from Gwathmey.

Ruff gave the Bonnies a 26-25 edge with a pair of free throws to begin the second half, but the Bonnies would not hit a field goal until the 5:47 mark of the third when a one-hander from Richmond snapped the drought.

James Madison remained just as cold though, and the Bonnies surged ahead when Drummond drilled three-pointers from both corners and then Ruff sank a pull-up jumper in the lane for a 36-29 score with 3:20 left in the quarter.

The Dukes went nearly six minutes of game time without a point as the Bonnies took control, but a traditional three-point play from Angela Mickens pulled the visitors within 36-33 heading to the fourth quarter.

The final period would belong to the Bonnies.

Ruff started the fourth with a pair of free throws and then dribbled behind-the-back to create space, pulling up in the lane and sinking a jumper for a 40-33 score with 8:16 to go.

A Gwathmey three-point play gave the Dukes life, pulling within five and still 7:27 remaining.

Richmond swung the momentum back in favor of the Bonnies on the next trip down the floor, however, finishing off the glass following a pass from Ruff underneath.

Drummond helped finish off the Dukes late, first passing on a look at three before driving the lane for a nine-point lead, then, with just over five minutes to go, delivered another trey for the largest lead of the night, 48-38.

James Madison closed within 49-42 with 1:48 to play, but Ruff and senior Nyla Rueter sank four straight free throws to put the game on ice. Drummond finished the scoring with two more at the line with the victory in hand.

Gwathmey, who reached 1,000 career points during Monday's game, finished with 22 points to lead James Madison. The Dukes leader shot just 9-of-29 from the floor, however, while being guarded by Drummond. Ashley Perez entered the night averaging over 13 points per game, but was held to 2-of-21 shooting for seven points.

"We gave them some offensive rebounds, but still found a way to do some things to get the victory," Crowley said.

St. Bonaventure returns to action with another quick turnaround, hosting rival Buffalo Wednesday night at the Reilly Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

GAME NOTES: The 45 points from James Madison were the fewest by the Dukes since a 50-34 loss to Drexel on March 16, 2013 … the Bonnies registered their first offensive rebound with 4:46 left in the fourth quarter and posted just two for the game, though JMU held a narrow overall margin on the boards, 41-40 … St. Bonaventure evens the all-time series with JMU at 1-1, avenging a 76-43 road loss last year … JMU, the third winningest program in NCAA history, went 29-4 a season ago, advancing to the NCAA Tournament. The Dukes have reached either the NCAA Tournament or the WNIT every season since 2005-06 ... Drummond's previous career-high of 17 points came three times, including in Saturday's win over Georgetown ... Michael bettered her previous high of eight rebounds set last year vs. Drexel.

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