The Kansas City women's basketball team (6-13, 2-4) will look to stay hot when it heads to Indianapolis, Ind., to take on Summit League foe IUPUI (10-8, 4-2). The game between the Kangaroos and the Jaguars is slated for a 6 p.m. CT tip at The Jungle.
IUPUI enters the contest with a 10-8 record overall and a 4-2 record in Summit League play after upsetting first place South Dakota State last week. DeAirra Goss and Kerah Nelson lead the Jaguar offense at 14.0 ppg, while Katie Comello is averaging 10.1 ppg. On the glass, Nelson tops the team at 5.6 rpg, with Akilah Sims adding 4.6 rpg. As a team, the Jags are limiting opponents to just 27.0 percent from three-point range and out-rebounding them 38.5 to 35.7.
The Kangaroos and the Jaguars are tied in their all-time series 14-14 after the 'Roos swept the Jags last season. On Jan. 21, Kansas City won 63-55 at the SRC, before winning 58-56 in Indianapolis.
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.
Hired on a one-year term four days prior to the start of practices for the 2010-11 season, Austin Parkinson improved the Jaguars win total from the previous year and more importantly changed the culture of the program in one year's time. For his efforts, IUPUI Director of Athletics announced on April 22, 2011 that Parkinson will continue to lead the women's basketball program as the head coach. A point guard during his playing days at Purdue under legendary head coach Gene Keady, Parkinson valued sharing the basketball and limiting turnovers. Inheriting a team that turned the ball over six more times than their opponents and averaged less than 10 assists per game in 2009-10, Parkinson helped the 2010-11 squad to dramatically improve its turnover margin and assists total.
Last Time Out
Junior Eilise O'Connor scored a career-high 34 points, including knocking down a school record 17-of-18 free throws, to lead the Kansas City women's basketball team (6-13, 2-4) to a 77-59 win over Summit League foe Fort Wayne (6-13, 2-5) on Saturday afternoon at the Swinney Recreation Center.
Offensively, the Kangaroos shot a season-high 63.9 percent from the field, including 57.1 percent from long range, and reached a new season-high with 77 points. O'Connor added a team-high seven rebounds in the win, while senior Emile Blakesley registered 12 points and a career-high four steals.
Junior Ashli Hill was the final 'Roo in double figures, finishing with 11 points, while fellow junior Hailey Houser added seven points and a team-high seven rebounds. Barnwell, meanwhile, chipped in eight points, going a perfect 3-for-3 from the field and 2-for-2 from three-point range. As a team, the 'Roos out-rebounded the Mastodons 28-21 and out-scored them off the bench, 19-3.
O'Connor Grabs Second POW Honor
Eilise O'Connor earned her second Player of the Week award this season after scoring a career-high 34 points in a win over Fort Wayne. In addition to her 34 points, she grabbed seven rebounds and connected on a school record 17 free throws. On Thursday, the junior guard scored 26 points with eight rebounds and three steals against Oakland. For the week, O'Connor averaged 30 points, 7.5 rebounds, two steals and one assist per game. She went 26-of-27 (.963) from the free throw line and 16-of-31 (.516) from the field in the two contests. With her 30 points per game average, O'Connor nearly doubled her averaged of 15.5 points coming into the week.
Freshman Taylor Leathers has posted two double-doubles this season, on Dec. 28 against Omaha with 10 points and 12 rebounds and Jan. 12 against South Dakota with 12 points and 10 rebounds, tied for the team lead with senior Kim Nezianya. Nezianya recorded her double-doubles against SEMO with 23 points and 11 rebounds and at VCU with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Eilise O'Connor, meanwhile, has one, versus Boise State with 23 points and 13 assists.
Closing In On 1,000
Eilise O'Connor is nearing the 1,000 point mark in school history, as the San Francisco native currently sits at 951. If she reaches the plateau, she would be the 11th player in school history to top 1,000 points.
O'Connor At The Line
On Jan. 19, junior Eilise O'Connor made a Kansas City school record 17 free throws against Fort Wayne. Currently, the 17 free throws is tied for the most in the NCAA this season, while ranking 16th in individual game percentage, trailing only the 15 players at 1.000 percent. On the season, her 85.4 % ranks second in the league and 39th in the NCAA. As a team, the 'Roos rank 57th in the NCAA and third in the league at 72.8%.
'Roos In The Community
This season, the 'Roos have spent time in the community, including volunteering at Morning Glory Cafe, the local soup kitchen, and holding clinics for youth interested in basketball. This week, the squad went to Bentwood Elementary to promote reading to the students.
Dishing It Out
This season, Eilise O'Connor has eclipsed the 300 assist mark and now sits seventh in school history with 308. This season, she has recorded the 10th most assists in a game in the NCAA when she handed out 13 on Dec. 1 against Boise State. 13 times she has led the team and currently ranks third in The Summit League at 4.0.
This season, one player as started all 19 games for the 'Roos: Emile Blakesley. To date, the senior leads the team in steals, while ranking second in assists.
Going the Distance
On the season, junior point guard Eilise O'Connor has played all 40 minutes of the game in nine contests; Nov. 9 vs. Missouri Western State, Nov. 15 vs. Saint Louis, Nov. 30 at Air Force, Dec. 7 at Minnesota, Dec. 19 at Texas Southern, Dec. 21 at New Mexico State, Jan. 3 at South Dakota State, Jan. 17 vs. Oakland and Jan. 19 vs, Fort Wayne. Overall, the San Francisco native is averaging 36.8 minutes per game.
O'Connor and Nezianya Nab Back-to-Back POW Honors
Eilise O'Connor was named The Summit League Player of the Week on Dec. 3 after averaging 26.5 points, 10 assists, five rebounds and 1.5 steals per game with a 2.9 assist/turnover ratio. She also shot 52 percent (15-of-29) from the floor, including 89 percent (8-of-9) from long-range.
Kim Nezianya,meanwhile, garnered the honor 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.
Blakesley Earns 'Roos Third POW Honor
Kansas City women's basketball senior guard Emile Blakesley was named The Summit League Player of the Week after recording a career-high 16 points against Eastern Michigan after entering the contest averaging just 1.9 ppg. She also added career-highs of five rebounds, four assists, four steals, five field goals and four 3-pointers made. Blakesley shot 71 percent (5-of-7) from the field, 67 percent (4-of-6) from downtown and was a perfect 2-for-2 from the free throw line.
Nezianya and O'Connor 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. Eilise O'Connor, meanwhile, captured her second career all-tournament team honor after being named to the Air Force Classic All-Tournament Team with averages of 26.5 points, 10.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals, while hitting 8-of-9 from three-point range in the win over Air Force and the loss to Boise State.
Junior Center Ashli Hill has made her mark on the defensive end of the court for the 'Roos, as the Lawrence, Kan., native currently ranks 52nd in the nation and first in The Summit League in blocked shots at 1.79 per game, while the 'Roos as a team are tied for first in the league at 3.8 bpg. Her 175 career blocks, meanwhile, rank second in school history and 11th in league history.
Taking Care of the Rock
The Kangaroos are currently averaging just 15.8 turnovers per game, the fourth best mark in The Summit League and the 80th best mark in the NCAA.
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.
Summit League Ranks
Lexis Hardiek is fifth in 3-pt.% (40.7), while Eilise O'Connor is second in scoring (17.1), second in FT% (85.4) and third in assists (4.0). Defensively, Ashli Hill ranks first in blocks (1.8), while Hailey Houser is fifth (0.9).
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. Junior Ashli Hill, meanwhile, is second all-time in blocks with 175. Junior Eilise O'Connor, the final 'Roo, is third in free throws made (300), fifth in free throw percentage (.798) and seventh in assists (308) in her career.
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
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.
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.
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
- Advanced to WNIT for 1st time in 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
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.