KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC women’s basketball team (2-10) heads to Boca Raton, Florida to participate in the FAU Holiday Classic to close out the 2017 calendar year. The Roos will square off with Stetson (8-6) on Friday, Dec. 29 at 1:30 p.m. CT before taking on either Delaware State (1-10) or host FAU (4-5) on Saturday, Dec. 30.
The tournament will be the first time UMKC hits the hardwood since hosting the Roo Holiday Classic, which resulted in a pair of hard-fought losses to Northern Colorado and Denver. Senior guard Samantha Waldron (Omaha, Neb.) was an impact performer for the Roos in the event, scoring a combined 39 points in the two games on the way to earning All-Tournament Team honors. The finale against Denver served as a major milestone for Waldron as she eclipsed 1,000 points for her career in the contest.
Despite not claiming victories in the Roo Holiday Classic, UMKC showed some very positive signs to build on as they look to close out nonconference play in strong fashion. The Roos have seemingly found a better rhythm on the offensive end, putting up their third and fourth highest point totals in their last two contests while also having scored 60 points or more in six consecutive games after doing so just twice in the team’s first six matchups.
UMKC will continue to rely upon a balanced scoring attack that holds three players among the top-15 in scoring within the Western Athletic Conference. Aries Washington (Kansas City, Mo.) leads the Roos in scoring and ranks fourth in the conference averaging an even 18 points per game. The senior guard has been efficient in her point production in all three phases, shooting 44.8% from the field, 34.8% from three-point distance and 80.7% from the foul line, all three ranking among the top-10 in the WAC. Washington has also made significant contributions on the boards in averaging six rebounds per game, good for second on the team and 11th in conference.
The aforementioned Waldron has been a highly productive scorer for the Roos in past seasons but has taken on a more multi-dimensional role for this year’s squad. In addition to serving as a reliable offensive weapon, sitting 14th in conference at 11.6 points per game and leading the WAC with 2.4 three-pointers per game, Waldron has given UMKC a lift on the defensive end with a team-high 22 steals on the year, good for fourth in the conference.
A guard-oriented team, the Roos primarily play with a four guard, one forward lineup throughout the majority of contests. Kristen Moore (Chicago, Ill.) has been the steadiest post presence thus far in the 2017-18 season. The redshirt junior forward has proven to be a terrific-two player in her UMKC career and this season has looked no different. On the offensive end, Moore is averaging 13.5 points per game, good for seventh in the WAC, on a stellar 48.2% shooting from the field that ranks third in the conference. Moore also leads the Roos in rebounding at 6.7 boards per game which sits just outside the top-5 in the WAC.
Daijane Dillard (Los Angeles, Calif.) has been a critical piece in sparking the UMKC offense. The senior point guard leads the team in averaging 3.3 assists per game and leads the conference in assist to turnover ratio at 2.6. Pushing the pace while keeping turnovers in check has been a focal point for the Roos and will rely on Dillard to continue her steady performance in the games ahead.
The upcoming tournament will likely provide more milestones for players on the UMKC roster. Aries Washington needs just seven points to reach the 1,000 point mark for her career and will almost certainly reach the plateau in the event. Kiana Law (Pittsburgh, Pa.), who missed the previous two games due to injury, is also close to reaching a major accomplishment, approaching a move up one spot on the career rebounding leaders in UMKC history. With 558 career rebounds, Law ranks 9th in UMKC history in the department and needs just five more rebounds to take sole possession of 8th place.
UMKC Roos vs. Stetson Hatters
Date: Friday, December 29
Tipoff: 1:30 p.m. CT
Location: Boca Raton, Fla. (FAU Arena)
Series: UMKC leads 1-0
Live Stats: TBA
Live In-Game Update: @umkcwbb
Stetson enters the matchup with UMKC in the FAU Holiday Classic riding a two-game win streak in addition to claiming victories in five of their past seven contests. The Hatters will give the Roos an interesting matchup as a team with no glaring flaws to exploit. On the year, the team is averaging 65.1 points per game on shooting 42.1% from the field, 33.2% from beyond the arc and 76.8% from the free throw line, all of which are above average marks. One area that the Hatters could be exposed is on the offensive glass, where they are allowing opponents to secure just over 13 offensive rebounds per game. Senior guard Brittney Chambers has been the primary scoring option for Stetson and has been tough to stop thus far in the season. Averaging 17.2 points per game, Chambers has scored in double-figures in all 14 games on the year. Freshman forward Megan Vincent has seen playing time increase in recent games and has been an excellent rim protector for the Hatters. At 6-4, Vincent’s presence in the paint will need to be accounted for as she enters the game averaging over two blocks per game.
The Roos will return home to host Graceland on Wednesday, Jan. 3 at 6 p.m. CT following the FAU Holiday Classic. The contest against Graceland, which will be broadcast free of charge on the WAC Digital Network and will have Live Stats available, will wrap up the nonconference schedule for UMKC before traveling to UT-Rio Grande Valley to begin WAC competition.
– UMKC –