LAS VEGAS, Nev. – UMKC women’s basketball (10-19) fought until the end against top-seeded New Mexico State (23-6), but it end it wasn’t enough as the Roos fell 71-63 in a Western Athletic Conference Tournament semifinal Friday afternoon at the Orleans Arena. Kristen Moore (Chicago, Ill.) led four UMKC players in double figures with a career-high 23 points to go along with eight rebounds and four assists.
"I’m tremendously proud of how this team has represented us this season,” head coach Marsha Frese said. “They faced a ton of adversity but never quit. These women have phenomenal futures ahead of them."
UMKC shot 38 percent (26-for-68) from the field for the game but connected on only one of 10 attempts from beyond the arc. NM State shot 52 percent (25-for-48) from the floor and 67 percent (7-for-11) from 3-point range as the Aggies remained undefeated against WAC opponents this season.
Moore was a force inside, finishing 9-for-20 from the field and 5-for-7 from the free throw line in 36 minutes of action.
“She showed that she is one of the elite forwards in this league,” Frese said.
Joining Moore in double figures were Kelsey Barrett (Kansas City, Mo.) with 11 points and Ceidra Coleman (Bryan, Texas) and Lyndsay Leikem (Tucson, Ariz.) with 10 points each. Leikem recorded a double-double with 10 rebounds.
UMKC outrebounded the Aggies 43-29 and outscored NM State 34-32 in the paint, 20-16 in points off turnovers and 12-6 in second-chance points, but the difference in the game was from beyond the 3-point arc.
Both teams came out of the gate with a ton of energy. It was a 2-point contest for nearly the entire first quarter until NMSU’s Moriah Mack scored the final five points of the frame over the last 2:08.
The Aggies increased the margin to 32-25 at halftime. Moore led UMKC with six points, three boards and two assists at the break. She would add 17 points, five rebounds and two assists following intermission.
In the second half, the efficient NM State attack had an answer for every Roos scoring run. The Aggies stretched the lead to 46-31 with 3:43 remaining and 49-34 with 2:43 left in the third quarter, but UMKC kept fighting and trimming the deficit.
The Roos trailed 53-39 heading into the fourth quarter but cut the lead to single digits at 57-49 on a Coleman layup with 6:22 remaining and pulled within seven at 60-53 on a Moore jumper with 3:29 left. Moore converted a lay-in with 21 seconds left to make it a 2-possession game but that was as close as UMKC would come. NM State went 5-for-6 from the foul line over the final 1:01 to seal the victory and advance to the WAC Tournament championship game.
– UMKC –