LAS CRUCES, N.M. – UMKC was able to keep pace with New Mexico State in the WAC opener for most of the game, but fell late to the Aggies 78-72 in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on Thursday evening.
The Roos (5-9, 0-1) held their first lead of the night after a free throw from redshirt-sophomore forward Kristen Moore (Chicago, Ill.) put UMKC up 3-2 early on in the first period. A layup from the Aggies (9-6, 1-0) gave them their biggest lead of the first period at 15-11. However, the Roos battled back and ended the period on a 7-0 run to take an 18-15 lead heading into the second period.
New Mexico State opened the second period on a 6-0 run to go up 21-18 early in the period. The Roos battled back once again and took a 25-24 lead on a layup from forward Lyndsay Leikem (Tucson, Ariz.). UMKC saw their biggest lead of the game when junior guard Samantha Waldron (Omaha, Neb.) converted a three-point play and put the Roos up 31-26. The Aggies tied the game late in the period, but the Roos went into the half up 39-37.
UMKC struck first in the second-half on a jumper from senior guard Ceidra Coleman (Bryan, Texas) to go up 41-37. The Aggies retook the lead for the final time on a three-pointer late in the period to go up 56-54. New Mexico State went into the final period up 63-57.
The Roos were able to cut the lead to two at 74-72 on a layup from Moore, but couldn’t overcome the defending WAC champions and fell 78-72.
“What a great opportunity to open conference play against the two-time defending WAC Champions,” head coach Marsha Frese said. “I give New Mexico State a ton of credit, we challenged them to make shots and they stepped up big time.”
Leikem scored a career-high 15 points in the game as four Roos ended with double-figure scoring totals. Junior guard Aries Washington (Kansas City, Mo.) paced the Roos with 18 points, and hauled in four rebounds.
The Roos will and will end their four-game road trip at UT Rio Grande Valley on Jan. 7 in Edinburg, Texas.
– UMKC –