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Kangaroos Wrap Up Regular Season At Home With IPFW And Oakland
UMKC Athletics 2-25-2011
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The Kangaroos host IPFW on Feb. 26 at 4 p.m. and then close out with Oakland on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m.
Photo Courtesy: UMKC Athletics/MSH Photography
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Kansas City, Mo. -- The UMKC women’s basketball team will close out the regular season this weekend inside Swinney Recreation Center. The Kangaroos host IPFW on Feb. 26 at 4 p.m. and then close out with Oakland on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m.

Monday night’s match-up with the Golden Grizzlies will also be senior night. The Kangaroos will honor seniors Sam Sikkink and Janee Williams after the game.

UMKC is coming off of a 53-47 win at Western Illinois and is 13-14 overall and 8-8 in The Summit League.

The `Roos worked their way to a successful 2009-10 campaign that was highlighted by the program’s first ever Division I postseason appearance. The `Roos took on Memphis in the inaugural Women’ s Basketball Invitational.

Head coach Candace Whitaker is back for her fourth+ season and returning with her are four starters and 10 letterwinners from the 2009-10 record breaking squad. Whitaker welcomes back two seniors, six juniors and two sophomores. The Kangaroos will also welcome five newcomers, four freshmen and one sophomore, to the 2010-11 team.

Be A Part of the Action
Fans can listen LIVE to T.J. Jackson on KCWJ 1030 AM for the Kangaroos match-up with the Mastodons and the Golden Grizzlies. Live statistics and streaming for both games can be accessed by going to www.UMKCKangaroos.com.

Opponent Preview
IPFW is 18-8 overall and 12-4 in The Summit League. The Mastodons are coming off of a 50-47 loss to South Dakota on Feb. 21. IPFW is playing well on the road in league play this season, holding a 6-1 away record.

The Mastodons are led by Stephanie Rosado with 16.7 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. IPFW has three other players averaging double figures in Kayla Drake (11.5), Anne Boese (11.5) and Jordan Zuppe (10.4).

Oakland is 17-10 overall and 11-5 in league play. The Golden Grizzlies will face Southern Utah on Feb. 26 prior to playing in Swinney Recreation Center. Oakland is led by Bethany Watterworth is 18.1 points per game. Sharise Calhoun is also averaging 12.9 points per contest.

Series Record

The Kangaroos are 3-4 all-time against the Mastodons. Last season, UMKC swept IPFW in regular season play. This year, the `Roos dropped a 60-58 decision at IPFW on Dec. 6. Despite the loss, Dayon Hall-Jones finished with 16 points and LeAndrea Thomas contributed 10 points. Kim Nezianya finished with 11 rebounds and Ashli Hill recorded a career-high eight blocks.

Against the Golden Grizzlies, UMKC holds a 6-24 all-time record. On Dec. 4, Oakland defeated the Kangaroos 75-50. Peyton Adamson and Janee Williams finished with nine point, but that wouldn’t match the Golden Grizzlies .689 field goal shooting percentage. In the second half alone, Oakland shot .750 percent from the floor.

Summit League Standings
While eight teams have made the tournament some of the seedings are still up in the air. Oral Roberts is the league leader and regular season champion at 14-2. IPFW is sitting second with a 12-4 league record and Oakland is third at 11-5. South Dakota State has moved itself up to fourth with a 11-6 record and Southern Utah is sitting fifth at 9-7.

North Dakota State is ranked sixth at 9-8 and UMKC is sitting seventh with a 8-8 Summit League record. Western Illinois is rounding out the eighth seed right now with a 5-11 record.

UMKC Statistical Leaders
Dayon Hall-Jones is back on top for the Kangaroos, averaging 10.2 points per game. Hall-Jones tied her career-high against IUPUI with 21 points. The junior has scored 20 points twice this season.

Eilise O’Connor in second in scoring with 9.5 points per game overall and 11.6 points in league play only this season. O’Connor has landed in double figures in 13 games this year and scored a career-high 22 points on Dec. 29 against the Bison.

Brianna Eldridge is averaging 6.1 boards per contest overall and 6.7 in league play to lead UMKC. Eldridge finished with a career-high 13 rebounds against North Dakota State on Dec. 29, and another 13 rebounds against IUPUI on Jan. 24.

O’Connor In UMKC Record Books

Eilise O’Connor has been a consistent factor for the `Roos this season and her name is all over the UMKC freshman top-10 records. O’Connor is third in free throws made (68), sixth in free throws attempted (90) and seventh in free throw percentage (.756). The freshman is chasing Amy Thompson’s record in free throws made at 76 and free throws attempted at 119. Her cousin Katie Houlehan holds the top freshman free throw percentage at .886.

O’Connor is also fifth in assists, with 76 on the year, and fifth in steals, with 35. Erin Jones recorded 115 assists in her freshman campaign during the 1994-95 season and Dorota Gburczyk finished with 47 steals as a freshman in 1999-2000.

`Roos In The Summit League
UMKC has been focused at the free throw line in the past month and they now hold the top free throw percentage in Summit League action at .749 percent. The `Roos also still remain on top in rebounding margin (+6.0) and offensive rebounds (15.8 average).

The Kangaroos are second in league statistics in team blocking at 71, with Hill accounting for 64 of those blocks, and third in assists with 14.9 per game.

Hill Chasing Klein’s Single-Season Block Record
Ashli Hill has 64 blocks this season and is just 13 blocks short of UMKC’s single-season block record. The current school record is held by Alysa Klein. During the 2007-08 season, Klein recorded 77 blocks in 31 games, averaging 2.5 blocks per game. The Lawrence, Kan., native is currently fourth in the record books for blocks in a single season.

Hill is sitting third in The Summit League statistics, averaging 2.5 blocks per contest.

Last Time Out: Kangaroos Get Back On Track With 53-47 Win At Western Illinois

The UMKC women’s basketball team got back on track on Monday night and defeated Western Illinois, 53-47. The Kangaroos were led by freshman Eilise O’Connor with 16 points, while Dayon Hall-Jones had and Kim Nezianya led the squad with 10 rebounds.

`Roos Qualify for Summit League Championships
Following last weekend’s league games, eight teams have qualified for The Summit League Women’s Basketball Championships in Sioux Fall, S.D. on March 5-8. This year’s tournament will feature Oral Roberts, IPFW, Oakland, North Dakota State, South Dakota State, Southern Utah, UMKC and Western Illinois.

Whitaker Finds Starting Five
Head coach Candace Whitaker may have finally found a consistent starting five in forward Kaycie Boyles, center Ashli Hill and guards Brianna Eldridge, Eilise O’Connor and LeAndrea Thomas. The five have started in the past seven games and UMKC is 5-2 with this starting line-up.

Kangaroos Win Over Oral Roberts Long Over Due
The win over Oral Roberts is the first for the UMKC women’s program since Jan. 23, 2006, when then-head coach Bo Overton handed the Golden Eagles a 73-62 loss in Tulsa, Okla. Tonight’s victory was also a career-first win over Oral Roberts for head coach Candace Whitaker.

Future `Roo Hardieck Breaks Kansas Three-Point Career Record

Incoming UMKC women’s basketball player Lexi Hardieck broke the Kansas record for career three-pointers on Jan. 27. The senior hit five three’s to break the record of 331 set by Laurie Koehn in 2000. Hardieck is the single season record holder with 132 three’s, set last season. The senior is currently at 334 career-three’s and counting.

The previous record holder, Koehn, was a Kansas State standout from 2001-05. Koehn led the Wildcats from the three-point line all four years and was drafted by the Washington Mystics in 2007 as a free agent.

Eldridge Shows Some Muscle
Brianna Eldridge has been working real hard for the Kangaroos underneath the basket during league play, recording her fourth straight double figure game. Eldridge brought down 11 rebounds at Southern Utah on Saturday. The junior has recorded 13 rebounds, a career-high, on two occasions this year (NDSU, Dec. 29; IUPUI, Jan. 24).

Defense Big Part of Success
The UMKC defense has worked very hard the week of Jan. 17-24 and that hard work paid off as they were able to hold the past three opponents to 55 points or less. The `Roos held the Ladies to just 49 points and kept the Fighting Leathernecks to 51 points. UMKC held IUPUI to 55 total points on Monday night.

Hill Breaks UMKC Freshman Blocking Record
Hill is sitting at 47 blocks this season, making her the top blocking freshman in UMKC school history. Hill surpassed teammate Mariah Davis, who recorded 41 blocks her freshman year in the 2008-09 season. The freshman also holds the school record for most blocks recorded in a half. The Lawrence, Kan., native finished with six blocks at Kansas, all recorded in the first half.

`Roos Hold Kansas To 56 Points

UMKC may have dropped a 56-41 decision at Kansas on Jan. 3 but the `Roos achieved something that no other non-conference opponent has been able to do this season against the Jayhawks. Prior to facing the Kangaroos, Kansas (13-1) was averaging 82 points a game in non-conference play this season and the UMKC defense was able to hold them to just 56.

O’Connor Voted Lady Osprey Holiday Tournament MVP
UMKC freshman guard Eilise O’Connor was voted to the all-tournament squad for the Lady Osprey Holiday Tournament. O’Connor was also chosen as the MVP of the tournament after leading UMKC to a 2-0 record at North Florida. The San Francisco, Calif., native averaged 11.5 points and 4.5 rebounds over the weekend.

O’Connor finished with 13 points in the 60-51 win over Bethune-Cookman on Dec. 18. She scored 10 points in the 62-55 win over Troy on Dec. 19. O’Connor shot .813 (13-16) from the free throw line over the weekend and averaged three assists.

Nezianya Doubles Up

Kim Nezianya recorded her second double-double of the season at Missouri, with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Nezianya finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds against Texas-Arlington.

The Carrollton, Texas, native recorded three double-doubles last season as a freshman. Her last double-double was against Oral Roberts in The Summit League Tournament on March 8, where Nezianya finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Women’s Hoops To Be Aired On KCWJ 1030 AM The Light & Hot Talk 1510 AM
Kangaroo fans will now have the opportunity to follow the UMKC women’s basketball both home and away this season.  During the 2010-11 campaign, over 80 percent of Kangaroo women’s basketball games will be broadcast on the radio on KCWJ 1030 AM The Light and Hot Talk 1510 AM. T.J. Jackson will call all the play-by-play action for the ‘Roos for the fifth straight season.

The Summit League Releases Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll; `Roos Tabbed Sixth

The UMKC women’s basketball team has been picked to finish sixth in The Summit League Preseason Poll after receiving a total of 253 points in a vote of the league’s coaches, SIDs and members of the media. Oral Roberts is tabbed to finish first in The League this year, after claiming the 2009-10 regular season title.

School (1st place votes), Points
1. Oral Roberts (26), 438
2. South Dakota State (4), 393
3. Oakland, 336
4. IPFW, 285
5. North Dakota State, 274
6. UMKC, 253
7. Southern Utah, 162
Western Illinois, 162
9. IUPUI, 99
10. Centenary, 48

`Roos Break Even In 2009-10

UMKC finished the 2009-10 season with a 16-16 (.500) overall record, which is the second best winning percentage for the women’s program since its admittance into The Summit League (former Mid-Continent Conference).

Whitaker Leads UMKC To School Win Record
The Kangaroos finished with a 12-6 Summit League record last season. UMKC’s .667 winning percentage is the second best in school history and the 12 league victories are a school record.

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