KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC women’s basketball team (5-13, 1-2 WAC) will travel to the west coast for a pair of Western Athletic Conference (WAC) road contests. The Roos will square off with CSU Bakersfield (8-9, 2-1 WAC) on Thursday, Jan. 18 at 9 p.m. CT before taking on Grand Canyon (8-9, 2-1 WAC) on Saturday, Jan. 20 at 3 p.m. CT.
The Roos enter the week fresh off a pair of conference losses in which they held fourth quarter leads in both games. The team has played solid basketball over the course of the past few weeks and has a great opportunity to take the next step in closing out victories with a pair of quality opponents looming.
After winning the WAC opener on the road at UT Rio Grande Valley, UMKC will play for a second consecutive road win to open conference play. A win against CSU Bakersfield would mark the first time that the task has been achieved since joining the WAC.
Despite being held under 60 points in their past three contests, the Roos still boast the conference’s third-best scoring offense at 66.7 points per game and second-best team field goal percentage of 40.7%. Getting back into a sustained rhythm on the attack will be pivotal in securing victories in the road games ahead.
On the defensive end, UMKC has done a tremendous job in keeping opponents off the glass and limiting second chance opportunities. Sitting second in conference allowing 37.5 opponent rebounds per game, the Roos will need to stay sound in securing opponent misses particularly with CSU Bakersfield, who ranks third in the WAC grabbing 39.3 rebounds per game.
Kristen Moore (Chicago, Ill.) was an impact performer last week, averaging 16.5 points and six rebounds in the two contests. The redshirt junior forward will look to continue building on what has been an impressive season as the primary post presence for the Roos, averaging 13.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, both ranking among the top-10 in the WAC. Moore’s efficiency has also been terrific as she currently sits second in the conference shooting 51% from the field.
Aries Washington (Kansas City, Mo.) continues to provide offensive production from all areas of the floor, ranking among the top-five in conference at 16.9 points per game. The senior guard is shooting 43% from the field, 34.5% from three and 80.3% from the foul stripe, all ranking among the top-15 in the WAC.
UMKC Roos vs. CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners
Date: Thursday, January 18
Tipoff: 9:00 p.m. CT
Location: Bakersfield, Calif. (Icardo Center)
Series: UMKC trails 8-1
Live Stats: www.sidearmstats.com
Live In-Game Update: @umkcwbb
Scouting the Roadrunners
CSU Bakersfield matches up with UMKC coming a 56-48 loss to New Mexico State after taking home victories in their previous two contests. The Roadrunners have relied greatly on their defense, leading the WAC in scoring defense (56.6 points per game) and field goal percent defense (36.1%).
The Roos will need to put an emphasis on taking care of the ball in the matchup with CSU Bakersfield forcing 18.6 opponent turnovers per game, second-most in the conference. It has been a different story for the Roadrunners offensively with the team being held under 60 points in 11 games this season. UMKC will need to continue the trend of keeping the CSU Bakersfield’s offense, which ranks next to last in the WAC at 55.8 points per game, in what will likely be a low-scoring affair. Limiting second-chance points could play a major role in keeping the Roadrunners from lighting up the scoreboard as they lead the conference with 16.2 offensive rebounds per game.
Senior forward Aja Williams is the only CSU Bakersfield averaging in double-digits scoring, sitting just outside the top-10 in conference at 12.3 points per game.
UMKC Roos vs. Grand Canyon Lopes
Date: Saturday, January 20
Tipoff: 3:00 p.m. CT
Location: Kansas City, Mo. (Swinney Recreation Center)
Series: UMKC Trails 6-2
Live Stats: www.statbroadcast.com
Live In-Game Update: @umkcwbb
Scouting the Lopes
Grand Canyon split a pair of WAC road contests last week, falling narrowly to New Mexico State 64-60 before claiming a 65-59 victory over UT Rio Grande Valley. A home matchup with Chicago State awaits the Lopes before squaring off with UMKC. Grand Canyon enters the week ahead riding a huge wave of momentum, winning six of their past seven games.
The Lopes have utilized a deep bench in the 2017-18 campaign with nine players averaging 15+ minutes of action per game. Senior guard Brie Mobley has been superb for the team offensively averaging a team-best 19.3 points per game, ranking third in conference. Mobley also leads Grand Canyon in averaging 8.1 rebounds per game, third-most in the WAC as well. Beyond Mobley, the Roos will need to stay locked in on guards Jessica Gajewski and Jordan Jackson who both have been lethal from beyond the arc. Jackson leads the WAC in shooting 41.8% from three-point distance while Gajewski ranks third at 39.6% three-point shooting.
As a team, the Lopes lead the WAC in three-point shooting percentage (34.8%) and made three-pointers per game (7.5). Conversely, Grand Canyon has struggled pulling down rebounds on both ends of the floor, sitting seventh in rebounding offense and fifth in rebounding defense, providing a potential area for UMKC to exploit with second-chance points.
UMKC will finish off the three-game road stretch with a game at New Mexico State on Saturday, Jan. 27. The matchup is slated for 3 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on ESPN3.
– UMKC –