UMKC Drops Overtime Heartbreaker At Oakland
UMKC Athletics 12-1-2011
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(Rochester, Mich.) -- The UMKC women's basketball team (5-3) dropped a heartbreaking overtime contest on Thursday night to Oakland  (3-3), 71-65 after holding an 11-point second half lead.

In the contest, four 'Roos finished in double figures, including senior LeAndrea Thomas who finished with 16 points.  Junior Kim Nezianya and sophomore Eilise O'Connor, meanwhile, each had 13, while senior Dayon Hall-Jones registered 11.  On the glass, senior Brianna Eldridge posted a career-high 15 rebounds, including nine offensive.

Hall-Jones put the 'Roos ahead early with a three from the left wing, and, after six straight points from Oakland, hit her second three to tie the score at six at the 14:35 mark of the first half.

Another OU field goal put the Grizzlies back in front, but Thomas answered with a three from the left corner to give the Kangaroos their second lead of the game at 9-8.

The Golden Grizzlies recaptured the lead with 12:47 remaining in the half, the last field goal by either team over the next 4:28.

Thomas ended the drought for the 'Roos when she buried her second three of the game from the left corner to start an 11-2 UMKC run that put them ahead 20-12 with 5:12 left in the half.

Oakland countered with 10 straight points to retake a 22-20 lead before a three from the right wing by O'Connor gave the 'Roos back the lead at 23-22 late in the half.

The Golden Grizzlies scored the next four points, but a three from Nezianya tied the contest at 26 with less than a minute on the clock.

OU then closed out the half with the final basket before intermission to take a 28-26 lead into the locker room.

Coming out of halftime, the 'Roos tied the score on a layup by sophomore Ashli Hill, but an 8-2 OU run pushed the lead to 36-30 early in the half.

At that point, UMKC reeled off the next seven points, including a three-point play by Hill and a three from Hall-Jones, to take its first lead of the half at 37-36.

A pair of Oakland free throws put the Grizzlies back ahead by one, but back-to-back field goals by Hall-Jones and Thomas gave UMKC a three-point lead with 12:17 left in the game.

Oakland would cut the lead back to one on its next possession, but an 11-1 UMKC run, capped by a Thomas layup, gave the 'Roos their largest lead of the game at 52-41.

The 'Roos would hold the lead until the 9:06 mark when an Oakland layup ended the run.

Nezianya and the 'Roos though answered on their next possession when then Carrollton, Texas, native converted a layup deep in the paint to extend the lead to 11 at 54-43 with 7:39 left to play.

Five straight by the Grizzlies cut the lead to six, but O'Connor answered with two free throws to extend the lead to eight with just over six minutes left in the contest.

After a pair of OU free throws O'Connor drilled a jumper from the top of the key and Thomas hit a free throw to push the lead to nine at the 4:15 mark of the second half.

Two Oakland basket and two free throws trimmed the lead to three, forcing UMKC Head Coach Candace Whitaker to call a timeout with 1:38 left to play.

Two possessions later senior Brianna Eldridge collected a Nezianya miss with less than a minute on the clock before extending the lead to five with a put back layup.

After a Golden Grizzly layup cut the lead to two, Thomas hit two free throws to extend the lead back to five, but a three-point play by Oakland put the score at 63-61.

On the 'Roos next possession, Thomas pushed the lead to three after splitting her free throws, but Oakland would tie the score at 64 with a three-pointer with .4 seconds left in the game to force overtime.

In the overtime, neither team was able to score in the first minute and a half until O'Connor hit one of two free throws to give the 'Roos a one point lead with 3:23 on the clock.

Oakland answered with a single free throw on each of its next two possessions to claim a 66-65 lead at the 1:50 mark of overtime.

The score would hold at 66-65 until 24 seconds remained when an OU free throw extended the lead to two. 

The Grizzlies would miss the second free throw, but were able to collect the rebound and make both of their free throws after the 'Roos were forced to foul.

UMKC then came up empty on its final possession and Oakland added a layup at the buzzer to make the final score 71-65.

As a team, the 'Roos shot 43.5 percent from three-point range, the fourth time they have shot better than 40 percent on the season.

The Blue & Gold will be back in action again on Saturday at 3 p.m. when they continue Summit League play in Fort Wayne, Ind., against IPFW.


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