KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC women’s basketball team hits the road this week to take on the Kansas Jayhawks at 7 p.m. CT (11/7) and the Denver Pioneers at 8 p.m. CT (11/9). After competing in exhibition play last week, the Roos will officially kick off the 2018-2019 season on Wednesday night.
Live Stats: @ Kansas
Live Stats: @ Denver
About the Roos
Winning in convincing fashion last Friday against Southwest Baptist at Swinney, UMKC will look use that momentum from last week’s 104-72 victory over the Bearcats when they arrive Wednesday evening to face off against the Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse.
Delivering off the Bench
During Friday’s matchup against the Bearcats, the Roos dominated both sides of the court with their speed and quickness to keep Southwest Baptist off-balanced. Role players gave UMKC great minutes in the game as freshman guards Brooke Hampel (Huntsville, Ala.) and Jonaie Johnson (Chicago, Ill.) both provided a spark to the UMKC bench unit, combining for 27 points, eight rebounds and three assists on Friday night.
Bright Spots in the Starting Lineup
The starters for the Roos played exceptionally well in Swinney Auditorium last week with newcomers Ericka Mattingly (Wichita, Kan.) and Christina Soriano (Valladolid, Spain) both living up to the hype in Friday night’s game. Mattingly contributed to the victory over the Bearcats with a stat line of 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
A Junior College All-American from last year, Mattingly hopes to give the Roos plenty experience and versatility in her playing style throughout the 2018-2019 season with 10 newcomers arriving to UMKC this year for head coach Jacie Hoyt’s squad.
Soriano laid the groundwork for a physical presence in the paint, posting a score line of 14 points, eight rebounds and two blocks from last week’s exhibition match. The Valladolid, Spain native will look make every shot difficult for the opposing teams and become the anchor on defense in Hoyt’s game plan for this week in Lawrence and Denver.
Preparing for the Jayhawks
Coming off a 12-18 (3-15) record from the 2017-2018 season, the Kansas Jayhawks will look to hit the refresh button as the team fell into the bottom categories of offense during last season’s campaign.
One of the bright spots on the team from last year is senior forward Christalah Lyons, who ranked 11th respectively in scoring of all Big 12 qualifying players in 2017-2018. Lyons averaged 14.8 points, 3.2 assists and a 1.2 assist/turnover ratio. Lyons will lead a heavily experienced Jayhawk team this year, which counts seven seniors and two juniors.
Referring to the senior class, guard Kylee Kopatich became a problem for opposing defenses in 2017-2018, averaging in the top 12 for free throw percentage (.753) and three-point field goals made per game (2.3). Kopatich will look to climb those leaderboards in the Big 12 history books and deliver one last performance in final year as a Jayhawk.
The Jayhawks will look to use their experience on the offensive end to get out to an early start when UMKC arrives on Wednesday evening.
Preparing for the Pioneers
An average season last year positioned the Pioneers to a fifth place finish in the Summit League. With the Pioneers returning leading scorers Claire Gritt and Briana Johnson from last season, Denver will be aiming high for a chance at the Summit League championship. Gritt led the Pioneers in field goals made (111) and points per game (10.3) for Denver’s 2017-2018 unit.
The native out of Arlington Heights, Ill., Gritt received a Preseason All-Summit League Second Team Selection for her play from last season.
Johnson, a native out of Carson, Calif., returns for her junior season in which she correlated 8.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game in 2017-2018.
As a team, Summit League coaches and media personnel voted the Pioneers to place fifth in the 2018-2019 Preseason Poll, with the team receiving 431 points. Denver falls behind South Dakota State, who won the Summit League Tournament Title in the 2017-2018 campaign, followed by South Dakota, Western Illinois and Oral Roberts.
The Roos were picked to finish tied for fifth by both the coaches and the media in the annual WAC preseason poll, tying with Utah Valley in the media poll and UTRGV in the coaches’ poll. NM State, CSU Bakersfield, Seattle U and Grand Canyon were the top-4, in order, in each poll.
UMKC women’s basketball redshirt senior forward Kristen Moore was named to the Preseason All-WAC First Team by the WAC media and conference’s head coaches. Moore started 29 games last season for the Roos, averaging 14 points, six rebounds and garnered 1.5 assists while shooting nearly 51 percent from the field. These numbers transitioned to even more success on the court as Moore led the Roos in scoring nine times in the 2017-2018 campaign.
Moore will look to lead an inexperienced, but talented team into Allen Fieldhouse on Wednesday night against the Jayhawks to kick of the 2018-2019 season.
The Blue & Gold will head back across state lines to compete against Kansas State on Sunday, Nov. 18th at 7 p.m. CT.
– UMKC –