KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC women’s basketball team (2-9) opened up play in the Roo Holiday Classic with a matchup against Northern Colorado (7-3) Tuesday afternoon, falling by a final score of 87-73.
The game opened up in a tightly contested fashion that saw three ties and four lead-changes in just the first quarter of action. Samantha Waldron (Omaha, Neb.) knocked down a pair of three-pointers in the opening minutes to spark the Roos to a 13-7 lead at the 6:12 mark of the first quarter.
Waldron was a huge factor for the Roos as they battled throughout the contest, finishing with a season-high 21 points on 8 of 13 (61.5%) shooting from the field while knocking down five shots from beyond the arc, also a season-high. The senior guard also pitched in with three rebounds and three steals. Her terrific performance leaves her just six points shy of the 1,000 point mark for her career.
The Bears would rally back following the first period media timeout, closing out the quarter on a 12-4 run to take a 24-19 lead into the second period. Both sides were extremely efficient on the offensive end in the opening ten minutes, with UMKC combining to shoot 9 of 16 (56.3%) from the field and 4 of 8 from three-point range. Northern Colorado converted 6 of 11 (54.5%) field goal attempts and sent in 4 of 6 three-pointers.
Both team’s kept their hot shooting alive to open up the second quarter of action as Daijane Dillard (Los Angeles, Calif.) buried a shot from beyond the arc on the opening possession and was answered immediately by a Krystal Leger-Walker three ball for the Bears. A nice drive and finish from Waldron ensued following the pair of three-pointers to cut the Northern Colorado lead to 27-24.
The Bears would jump out on an 11-6 run to create separation as the half dwindled down to the final two minutes of play, but UMKC strung together a series of stops and scores to the narrow the gap. An 11-6 Roos run of their own, capped off by an Aries Washington (Kansas City, Mo.) layup as the first half expired sent the game into halftime with UMKC trailing 44-41.
Washington finished the day with yet another solid performance to add to her excellent senior season resume. The senior guard scored 14 points on the day but made significant contributions in other areas as well. Washington was a force on the glass, collecting a game-high nine rebounds, and dished out two assists as well. Like Waldron, Washington is narrowly closing in on the 1,000 career point mark, needing just 27 points to reach the milestone following today’s game.
“We did some really great things that kept us in the game and failed to do some things toward the end that really hurt us,” commented head coach Jacie Hoyt. “UNC is a very well-coached team with a smart players. We put them on the free throw line too often and had too many turnovers that we can’t afford to have, and they made us pay.”
The Roos came close to regaining the lead in the opening minutes of the third quarter, trimming the Bears’ lead to one point on consecutive possessions but unable to find the stop they needed. With UMKC down 49-47 at the 8:14 mark of the third period, Northern Colorado used a 9-4 run to stretch out their advantage once more.
Much like several of their previous contests, the Roos were not content to hand over the game without a fight. Washington scored five straight points for UMKC, including a powerful and-one conversion, to end the quarter, trimming the deficit to 62-58 at the end of the third period.
The fourth quarter did not fall in favor of the Roos as Northern Colorado was finally able to pull away and put the game out of reach. A Kristen Moore (Chicago, Ill.) layup in traffic at the 8:37 mark and a Dillard steal and layup at the 5:41 mark each brought UMKC to within one possession, but the team was unable to come closer the rest of the way. The Bears closed out the game on a 19-7 run as the Roos’ shots quit falling in the final minutes of regulation.
Five UMKC players – Waldron, Washington, Dillard, Moore and India Johnson (Overland Park, Kan.) - finished the game scoring in double figures, marking the third time the team had five or more players in double digits this season. The contest was also one of the team’s best shooting performances of the 2017-18 campaign, combining to shoot 29 of 58 (50%) from the field and 7 of 20 (35%) from beyond the arc. Free throw shooting was strong as well for the Roos, converting 8 of 9 (88.9%) of their foul shots in the game.
The Roos will have a quick turnaround as they look to rebound from the loss and close out the tournament in style. The team will play their second and final game of the Roo Holiday Classic tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 p.m. CT against Denver at Swinney Recreation Center.
“Any time you are competing in a tournament, you have to have a short term memory and flip the switch to be ready to play again,” said Hoyt. “We need to turn the page and prepare to face a very good Denver team tomorrow.”
– UMKC –