The Kansas City women's basketball team (1-1) will look for its second straight win when it welcomes in cross state rival Saint Louis (0-1) to Kansas City. Tip-off for the game between the Kangaroos and the Billikens is slated for 7 p.m. on Monday night at the Swinney Recreation Center.
Saint Louis returns four starters and seven additional players from last year's 11-20 team that tied for 10th (4-10) in the Atlantic 10 Conference. However, returning guards Jamesia Price, Morgan Johnson and Abby Willis are sidelined by injuries. Redshirt senior guard Courtney Webb is SLU's top returning scorer after averaging a team-high 11.4 points last season, her first as a Billiken. Redshirt sophomore guard Desirae Ball averaged 9.2 points in her first campaign after missing the 2010-11 season with an injury, while senior guard Jacy Bradley tossed in 8.6 ppg before missing the last 14 games due to injury. Junior forward Lorreal Jones (8.3 ppg) and senior center Mallory Eggert (7.6 ppg) round out last year's top five scorers. The Bills return their top two rebounders from a year ago in Jones (7.8 rpg) and Eggert (6.8 rpg). Webb led the way with 48 3-pointers.
Kansas City leads the all-time series between the two schools 10-4, including victories in the first seven and last two contests. Last season, the 'Roos won 70-67 on Dec. 20 in St. Louis.
After picking up her first win against Southeast Missouri State, Kansas City head coach Marsha Frese will look to make it two in a row when she guides the 'Roos against the Billikens on Thursday. Prior to UMKC, Frese served as the associate head coach at Northern Illinois and Illinois, while serving as an assistant at Ball State, Maryland and Minnesota during her career.
Lisa Stone, who has amassed a 503-237 record in 26 years as a collegiate head coach, was named head women's basketball coach at Saint Louis University May 4, 2012. Most recently, Stone served eight seasons (2003-11) in charge at Wisconsin. She began her head-coaching career with a three-year stint at Cornell (Iowa) College, spent 12 seasons at Wisconsin-Eau Claire and had a three-year tenure at Drake.
Last Time Out
Senior Forward Kim Nezianya led the Kansas City women's basketball team (1-1) with 11 rebounds and 23 points, including five straight with the 'Roos trailing by one and less than two minutes to play, as the Kangaroos knocked off Southeast Missouri State (1-1) 69-64 for their first win of the season on Monday night at the Swinney Recreation Center.
As a team, the 'Roos forced 18 Redhawk turnovers, while outscoring SEMO 38-26 in the paint. Individually for Kansas City, Ashli Hill finished with 12 points, five rebounds and three blocks, while Eilise O'Connor scored 17 points, grabbed four rebounds and handed out four assists.
Senior forward Kim Nezianya and junior guard Eilise O'Connor were named as the Team Captains in a vote by the team's players and coaches. The players were selected after members of the team went through an evaluation process with their teammates and coaches.
The UMKC women's basketball program picked up its 300th win with its 69-64 win over Southeast Missouri State on Nov. 12.
Future 'Roos in the Fold
Head Coach Marsha Frese and the Kansas City women's basketball team added three future 'Roos to the mix during the early signing period with the addition of 5-7 point guard Calli White, 6-0 forward Taylor Strickland and 6-1 forward Grace Mitchell. The trio will represent the first signing class under Frese. White and Strickland join the 'Roos as all-state performers out of Arkansas where they are teammates on Team Arkansas AAU team, while Mitchell comes from Plano, Texas and was her team's MVP a season ago.
'Roos Tabbed Second in Summit League Preseason Poll
The Kansas City women's basketball team was picked to finish second in The Summit League this season in a vote by the league head coaches, SID's and media.
School (1st place votes) Points
1. South Dakota State (22) 330
2. Kansas City (1) 260
3. Oakland 234
4. North Dakota State 221
5. IUPUI (1) 213
6. South Dakota 151
7. Western Illinois 138
8. Fort Wayne (1) 96
9. Omaha 43
O'Connor and Nezianya Honored by the League
Senior forward Kim Nezianya and junior guard Eilise O'Connor were each selected to the Preseason First Team All-Summit League. Kansas City teammates Nezianya, an all-tournament team honoree last season, and O'Connor, and Honorable Mention All-League selection, represent the only teammates on the First Team after helping the Kangaroos to just their second appearance all-time in the championship game last year.
College Sports Madness recognizes a Trio of 'Roos
Kansas City women's basketball junior Eilise O'Connor was named to the preseason First Team All-Summit League, while senior Kim Nezianya and junior Ashli Hill were each named to the Second Team according to College Sports Madness.
Rockin' 'Roo Talent Show
The women's basketball team walked away the winners of the third annual Rockin' Roo Talent Show on April 12. This year's event was held at the Student Union Theater on the UMKC campus and consisted of celebrity judges evaluating nine teams and their acts in front of a crowd of 300.
Cousins on the Roster
The UMKC roster will feature cousins Kelsey Barnwell and Lauren Dudding this season after the duo each decided to join the 'Roos out of separate states. Barnwell comes to the squad out of Kansas, Okla., while Dudding is a Lubbock, Texas, native. Junior Eilise O'Connor, meanwhile, enters her third season in the Blue & Gold after becoming familiar with the school thanks to her cousin and UMKC Hall of Famer Katie Houlehan.
This season, senior Emile Blakesley and junior Kara Lee are reunited on the court after spending the 2010-11 season as teammates at Hutchinson Community College. That year, the duo helped the Blue Dragons to 29-4 record, a conference championship and a spot in the NJCAA Region VI Semifinals.
Nezianya on the Glass
Senior forward Kim Nezianya entered the 2012-13 season as the leading active rebounder in The Summit League with 592. After leading the Kangaroos in rebounding in each of her first three seasons, along with her five rebounds this season, the Carrollton, Texas, native now has 597 in her career, seventh most in school history.
Kansas City Record Book
Several members of the current Kansas City women's basketball team have already placed their names in the school's record book. Senior Kim Nezianya is currently seventh all-time in rebounds with 597 in her career and ninth in three-point percentage at .354, while her 263 rebounds and .392 three-point percentage last season rank sixth and 10th, respectively. Junior Ashli Hill, meanwhile, is second all-time in blocks with 147, while her total from her freshman and sophomore seasons rank fourth and fifth all-time. Junior Eilise O'Connor, the final 'Roo, sits eighth in free throw percentage (.766) in her career, while ranking third in assists (154) and eighth in free throws made (104) and attempted (136) in a season.
Swinney Recreation Center
The home of UMKC Athletics, the Swinney Recreation Center houses the Kangaroo administration, coaches and student-athletes. The Dutton Brookfield Strength and Conditioning Center, the Victor F. Swyden Athletics Training Facility and the Student-Athlete Support Services Office also are located in the facility. Over the past three seasons, the facility has received a major face-lift including upgraded bleachers and a new floor installed this past summer.
Last season, the Kansas City women's basketball team had one of its best ever, finishing 22-12, making it to the championship game of The Summit League Tournament and appearing for the first time ever in the WNIT, while four 'Roos earned postseason honors for their play on the court.
2012 Kansas City Women's Basketball Team Accomplishments
- 22 win is the 2nd most in school history and only second 20 win season
- 6 road wins is most in school history
- 12 home wins is 3rd most in school history
- 4 neutral court wins is the most in school history
- Played in Summit League Tournament Championship Game for the 2nd time in school history
- Defeated three RPI top-100 teams
- Led The Summit League in off. rebound % (.357) and off. rebounding (14.3)
- Had five comeback wins when trailing by double-digits
2011-12 Individual Honors
Last season, several 'Roos received individual honors, including Dayon Hall-Jones who was named First Team All-Summit League by the league and Second Team by College Sports Madness, to the All-Summit League Tournament, to the World Vision Basketball Invitational All-Tournament Team and league player of the week three times. Eilise O'Connor, meanwhile, was named Honorable Mention All-League by the league and to the Third Team by College Sports Madness, while LeAndrea Thomas was named the league's Sixth Woman of the Year and league player of the week once and Kim Nezianya was named to the Fourth Team All-League by College Sports Madness and to the All-Summit League Tournament Team.
This season, the 'Roos will be led by a pair of seniors in four-year member Kim Nezianya and second-year member Emile Blakesley. In 2011-12, Nezianya averaged 11.1 ppg and 7.7 rpg, while being named to the All-Summit League Tournament Team, while Blakesley posted 2.4 ppg, 19 rebounds, 15 assists and 11 steals.
In 2012-13, the Kangaroo roster will feature five newcomers, including four freshman who will see plenty of action with just 11 players on the roster. This year's club welcomes in junior college transfer Kara Lee, along with freshman Taylor Leathers, Jordan Evans, Lauren Dudding and Kelsey Barnwell.
'Roos In The Backcourt
Starting point guard, Eilise O'Connor (5-8), returns for her third-year after being named preseason First Team All-Summit League and will serve as one of the team's two team captains. Joining O'Connor in the backcourt is a pair of second year 'Roos in senior Emile Blakesley (5-8) and sophomore Lexis Hardiek (5-7). Last season, the sharpshooting duo combined to hoist 95 of their 103 field goals from three-point range, knocking down 33. Rounding out the Kansas City guards are freshmen cousins Kelsey Barnwell (5-8) and Lauren Dudding (5-9). Barnwell comes to Kansas City out of Jay, Okla., where she was a three-time all-state selection after leading Kansas High School to a state championship during her tenure. Dudding, meanwhile, joins the 'Roos out of Lubbock, Texas, where she was named the District 2-5A and Avalanche Journal Player of the Year a season ago.
Kansas City at The Forward
At the forward position, the Kangaroos feature the longest tenured 'Roo on the roster in four-year member Kim Nezianya (6-0), who has led the 'Roos in rebounding in each of her three seasons, while being named to The Summit League Championship All-Tournament Team a season ago. This year, Nezianya enters the year as a preseason First Team All-Summit League selection and team captain. Taylor Leathers (6-0) joins the 'Roos out of Blue Valley High School in Overland Park, Kan., where she led the Tigers to a runner-up finish in the Kansas 5A State Championship as a junior. Jordan Evans (6-2), meanwhile, comes to Kansas City from Tulsa, Okla., where she guided Webster High School to the 4A Area 3 District Championship in each of the three previous seasons.
Women in the Middle
In the middle, the Kangaroos will send out a trio of juniors all over 6-3. In 2011-12, Lawrence, Kan., native Ashli Hill (6-5) improved both her points and rebound per game numbers, including notching a career-high 20 points in Allen Fieldhouse against Kansas. Hailey Houser (6-3) enters her third season at UMKC after posting 2.4 points and 1.7 rebounds per game last season, while twice matching her career-high of 10 points. Kara Lee (6-4), meanwhile, helped Hutchinson Community College to a 33-1 record and a runner-up finish in the national championship game a season ago, while averaging seven points and four rebounds per contest.
The 2012-13 Kansas City women's basketball coaching staff returns four members from last season's staff, while adding one new assistant coach. Associate head coach Bruce Erickson enters his fourth season with the program, while assistant coach Meredith Doyle enters her third year at UMKC. Jessica Trahan, meanwhile, enters her fifth season as the Director of Basketball Operations with the program, while Liz Sowers is in her second year as a graduate assistant coach after serving as a graduate manager. Danielle Gratton is the final member of the staff, serving as the squad's other assistant in her first season.
'Roos In The Classroom
Last season, eight 'Roos were named to The Summit League Academic All-League team, Kaycie Boyles, Sydney Crimmins, Brianna Eldridge, Dayon Hall-Jones, Lexis Hardiek, Kelsey Knoche, Kim Nezianya and Eilise O'Connor. In order to be named to academic all-league team, each student-athlete must post a GPA of 3.0 or higher in the semester in which they compete. Additionally, Boyles, Crimmins, Hardiek, Knoche and O'Connor were each named a Distinguished Scholar for posting a GPA above 3.6.
Meanwhile, Boyles, Eldridge, Hall-Jones, Hailey Houser, Knoche, Nezianya and O'Connor, were named to the Commissioner's List of Academic Excellence for posting a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.
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 2012-13 campaign, all 32 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 seventh straight season.
KSMO, meanwhile, will broadcast two TV games this season, including Nov. 8 against Colorado and Dec. 28 against Omaha.