The Kansas City women's basketball team (3-4) will be on the road for the second straight weekend when it heads to USAFA, Colo., for the Air Force Classic. The Kangaroos will open on Friday at 5 p.m. CT against the host Falcons (0-5), before closing out the tournament on Saturday against Boise State(3-2) at 3 p.m. CT.
Air Force enters the game with an 0-5 record after falling to fellow service academy schools Army and Navy in their last two contests. On the season, the Falcons are led in scoring by Alicia Leipprandt at 13.4 ppg, while Dymond James is averaging 10.0. On the glass, James leads the way at 7.2 rpg, while 10 players are averaging 10 or more minutes a game.
Boise State enters the tournament with a 3-2 record, including a win over Summit League foe North Dakota State. Offensively, the Broncos are led by Lauren Lenhardt's 15.8 ppg, while Brandi Henton is chipping in 11.4. On the glass Lenhardt again tops the team at 8.0 rpg. As a team, Boise State is limiting opponents to 33.7% shooting, including 23.7% from three-point range.
Kansas City leads the all-time series with Air Force 2-0, winning 65-59 at the SRC on Nov. 11, 2007 and 64-59 on Dec. 22, 2008 in Colorado Springs. This will be the first meeting between the 'Roos and the Broncos.
Renowned for her top-notch recruiting classes, Marsha Frese enters her first season as head women's basketball coach at UMKC. Named as the Kangaroo head coach on April 25, 2012, Frese brings 15 seasons of experience as a Division-I player and coach to the UMKC campus. 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.
Andrea Williams enters her third season as the head coach of the Air Force women's basketball program. Upon her arrival during the summer of 2010, Williams was tasked with turning around a program that had won just seven games in the previous two seasons combined. In just two years leading the Falcons, Williams has already helped the program make great strides. In 2012-13, the Falcons posted a 6-24 overall record despite dealing with a depleted lineup, while finishing the 2010-11 season with a 9-22 overall record, surpassing the team's win total from the previous two seasons combined.
Eight years ago Gordy Presnell returned to his home state to become the sixth head coach in Boise State University's women's basketball program history. He brought with him a mild and laid back demeanor, 18 years of head coaching experience and a long record of success. Upon his arrival on campus, Presnell made an immediate impact on the struggling Broncos. In the first seven years under his direction, the Broncos have gone 125-94 (.571) overall recording four winning seasons and one at .500.
Clune Arena has been the home for the Air Force basketball programs since 1968. The arena is named after former AFA Director of Athletics John Clune, who served in that position from 1975-91. Clune Arena seats 5,858 spectators and also hosts home events for the Air Force wrestling and women's volleyball teams. A record crowd of 6,511 witnessed the men's basketball team rally from a 21-point deficit to defeat Mountain West Conference rival New Mexico, 65-57, on Jan. 9, 2007.
Last Time Out
After starting 0-for-18 from the field and facing a 16 point deficit after the first 8:38 of the game, the Kansas City women's basketball team out-scored LIU Brooklyn 68-48 the rest of the way to knock off the host Blackbirds 70-66 in the third place game of the LIU Turkey Classic.
Sophomore Lexis Hardiek and freshman Kelsey Barnwell led the 'Roo charge off the bench, as each scored a career-high 16 points, to combine for 32 of Kansas City's 38 bench points. Junior Kara Lee, meanwhile, added the final six points off the bench, a new career-high for her, while also adding a new career-high in rebounds with seven.
Kim Nezianya finished with a team-high 17 points to go along with nine rebounds, three assists and two steals, to earn a spot on the LIU Turkey Classic All-Tournament Team, while junior Hailey Houser added a career-high 13 rebounds, eight points, two assists, a block and a steal. As a team, Kansas City out-rebounded LIU Brooklyn 45-41, while knocking down 9-of-14 from beyond the arc, good for 64.3 percent.
Nezianya Claims Summit League POW Honors
Kim Nezianya was named The Summit League Player of the Week on Nov. 26 after averaging 14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals per contest while shooting 44 percent (18-of-41) from the field, 40 percent (2-of-5) from behind the arc and 71 percent (5-of-7) at the line. Nezianya earns the award after being named to the LIU Turkey Classic All-Tournament Team and collecting her 16th career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in a loss at VCU.
Taking Care of the Rock
The Kangaroos are currently averaging just 12.9 turnovers per game, , the top mark in The Summit League and tied for the 10th best mark in the NCAA, less than three off the current leaders.
Kansas City head coach Marsha Frese comes from a strong coaching family as her sister, Brenda Frese, serves as the head coach at the University of Maryland. Since her first season at the helm when the team won just 10 games, Frese has guided Maryland to a National Championship in 2006, nine winning seasons, eight-straight 20-win seasons, four 30-win campaigns and eight trips to the NCAA Tournament. In 2006-07, Maryland also received its first-ever No. 1 preseason national ranking, remaining in the top spot in the polls for 10-consecutive weeks.
Nezianya Named All-Tournament
Senior Kim Nezianya was named to the LIU Turkey Classic All-Tournament Team after averaging 16.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.0 apg and 2.0 spg., while shooting 50.0% from three-point range.
After opening the season with the first four games at home, the 'Roos are in the midst of a six game road trip and a span of 10 road games out of 12 contest.
Summit League Ranks
Kim Nezianya currently ranks second in the league in scoring (15.1), while ranking fifth in FG% (47.3) and sixth in rebounding (6.7). Lexis Hardiek, meanwhile, is fourth in 3-pt.% (58.8), while Eilise O'Connor is second in FT% (90.5) and ninth in assists (2.7). Defensively, Ashli Hill ranks second in blocks (1.9), while Hailey Houser is sixth (1.1).
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.
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.
'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 47 rebounds this season, the Carrollton, Texas, native now has 639 in her career, fifth 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 fifth all-time in rebounds with 639 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 154, while her total from her freshman and sophomore seasons rank fourth and fifth all-time. Junior Eilise O'Connor, the final 'Roo, sits seventh in free throw percentage (.777) and ninth in assists (252) 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 12 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.
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.