PHOENIX, Ariz. – The UMKC women’s basketball team (7-13, 3-2 WAC) used an impressive defensive effort and hot-shooting fourth quarter to steal a 62-59 road win over Grand Canyon (9-10, 3-2 WAC). The contest marked the fourth consecutive game that has been decided by five points or less for the Roos.
UMKC got off to a rather slow start, connecting on just one of their first five field goal attempts and turning the ball over three times as Grand Canyon jumped out to an 8-2 advantage to open the game. The Roos found their footing after the initial stall and eventually took their first lead of the game on a Kiana Law (Pittsburgh, Pa.) jumper in the final minute of the first period.
After reclaiming the lead at 12-11 heading into second quarter action, Grand Canyon scored the first five points of the period to stretch their lead out to six points at the 8:47 mark. UMKC stormed back with a dominant with 15-4 run to close out the first half, taking a 26-21 lead into the break.
Kristen Moore (Chicago, Ill.) and Samantha Waldron (Omaha, Neb.) played pivotal roles in getting the Roos back on top, combining to score nine of the team’s 15 second quarter points. Moore, who had eight points and six rebounds in the first half, secured a double-double with 17 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Waldron tied for a game-high 17 points on 6-of-9 (66.7%) shooting from the field and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.
“Kristen Moore was exceptional on both ends of the floor and earning herself a double-double,” commented head coach Jacie Hoyt. “Sam and Aries both made bigtime shots when we needed them. The enthusiasm and effort our team is playing with, including our bench, has made us hard to stop.”
The second half opened with the Lopes trimming the UMKC lead to just two points at the 7:07 mark of the third quarter, taking advantage of a 1-of-5 shooting start for the Roos. UMKC quickly responded to create separation with India Johnson (Overland Park, Kan.) converting a pair of layups to the give the team an eight-point lead on two separate occasions as the third quarter wound down.
The Roos came out firing in the fourth quarter of play, sparking a 12-4 run in the opening minutes to extend their edge to 13 points with 5:47 remaining in the contest, their largest of the game. The team was absolutely lights out in knocking down shots in the final period, hitting 8-of-12 (66.7%) of their field goal attempts and all three of their shots from beyond the arc.
Aries Washington (Kansas City, Mo.) found her stride in the final ten minutes as the team leaped further ahead. Entering the game as the fourth-leading scorer in the WAC at 16.5 points per game, she poured in 11 of her 14 points in the final period, including a pair of clutch three-pointers.
As the final five minutes of regulation ticked away, UMKC continued to push on but saw their comfortable lead slowly dwindle away. A 19-8 Grand Canyon run, capped off with a 3-of-3 trip at the foul line by August Touchard, brought the game back to one possession with the Roos grasping to a 59-57 lead with 22 seconds remaining.
Both sides traded fouls in the final possessions and took advantage of their opportunities at the free throw line. Moore knocked in 3-of-4 foul shots on consecutive possessions while Grand Canyon sent home both of their two attempts, setting up a final shot for the Lopes with a chance to tie the game.
The Roos were absolutely terrific from the foul line throughout the game, converting 12-of-15 (80%) of their attempts in an effort to match Grand Canyon’s perfect 9-of-9 day at the line.
UMKC’s defense, facing several possessions in must-stop situations over the past two games, once again was up to the challenge to seal the victory. A three-point attempt from Touchard with five seconds remaining was tightly contested and drew iron, leading to a huge defensive rebound from Waldron to end the game at 62-59.
The tremendous defensive effort from start to finish resulted in UMKC limiting Grand Canyon to just 35% field goal shooting and outrebounding the Lopes by a 36-29 margin.
“This was another huge win for our program,” said Hoyt. “To win on the road is tough and to do it back to back is even tougher. This was huge for our seniors and program as getting a road sweep has never been done before since joining the WAC.”
– UMKC –