KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC women’s basketball team (8-14, 4-3 WAC) claimed its second victory of the season over Grand Canyon (10-11, 4-3 WAC) in an 84-82 overtime win Thursday night. The victory marked the first season sweep of Grand Canyon since joining the Western Athletic Conference (WAC).
Both sides opened the contest shooting red-hot in a first half that featured a flurry of offense. UMKC combined to shoot 15-of-27 (55.6%) from the field and 2-of-4 from three point range in the first two periods, while Grand Canyon matched the Roos’ totals by shooting 15-of-32 (46.9%) from the field and a blistering 9-of-18 from beyond the arc.
A 13-2 Grand Canyon run late in the second quarter pushed the Lopes’ lead out to a game-large eight points before the first half ended with Roos trailing 41-36. Aries Washington (Kansas City, Mo.) put together a dominant opening half performance, scoring 16 to lead UMKC in the first two periods. She left the game due to injury in the third period, finishing her night with 18 points and two rebounds.
Grand Canyon held on to their narrow advantage in the opening minutes of the second half but an 13-3 UMKC run pushed the Roos back in front with 3:36 remaining in the third quarter. Senior forward Kiana Law (Pittsburgh, Pa.) was a major contributor in the stretch, scoring seven of the team’s 13 points.
Law served as a terrific presence in the post throughout the game for UMKC. She finished her night with 18 points on an efficient 8-of-12 field goal shooting to pair with six rebounds.
With the Roos leading 59-57 to start the fourth quarter, the game was destined to come down to a close finish. Samantha Waldron (Omaha, Neb.) and Kristen Moore (Chicago, Ill.) were both huge contributors as the fourth period and overtime saw both sides answering back and forth in a terrific battle.
Waldron scored 12 points on 5-of-9 (55.6&) field goal shooting in addition to connecting 2-of-5 attempts from beyond the arc. The senior guard filled the stat sheet, however, as she pulled down a game and season-high nine rebounds to pair with three assists and three steals.
Moore was equally dominant as she grinded her way to a team-high 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field and an impressive 7-of-8 from the foul line. Moore also pulled down seven rebounds in the game.
With just 10 seconds remaining in the contest, UMKC faced a 74-73 deficit with possession of the ball. A pass into the paint was knocked away by a Grand Canyon defender, but Roos guard Daijane Dillard (Los Angeles, Calif.) somehow found a way to scoop up the ball and drew a foul with 1.7 seconds remaining.
Dillard injured her wrist on the play, leaving Rilynne Like (Overland Park, Kan.) with the opportunity to tie or take the lead at the foul line. Her first attempt drew the back iron but a clutch make on the second free throw sent the game into overtime at 74-74.
UMKC closed out the final five minutes looking like a team determined to walk away on top, after having late leads slip away earlier in the season. Back to back buckets from Waldron and Moore opened the period while a pair of India Johnson (Overland Park, Kan.) free throws put the Roos up four with three seconds to play, sealing up the victory.
“We talk every day in practice about having that growth mindset and with that comes the thought process of whatever happens, good or bad, we can learn from it,” commented head coach Jacie Hoyt. “It has been good for us in this conference season to have gone through it earlier so that we can take those lessons forward.”
The Roos are back in action at Swinney Recreation Center with a contest against CSU Bakersfield on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 1 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on the WAC Digital Network free of charge.
– UMKC –