KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC women’s basketball team (10-19, 6-6 WAC) put together a dominant performance in a 79-59 victory over UT Rio Grande Valley (13-14, 3-9 WAC) Thursday night. The win marked the second in a row for the team and the program’s first season sweep of UT Rio Grande Valley.
The Roos opened up the contest with relentless energy and red-hot shooting as they stormed out to a 25-10 lead at the first media break. UMKC turned to a heavy full-court pressure that forced UTRGV into eight first quarter turnovers and 13 giveaways in the first half.
“Right now our pressure defensive is really effective” commented head coach Jacie Hoyt. “We forced them into 23 turnovers and creating that chaos and havoc is good for us. It helps us when we can play fast and it starts on the defensive end.”
The team put on a masterful display of offense out of the gates to pair with their stifling defense, connecting on 10 of their first 14 field goal attempts in creating the early separation. UMKC was unable to keep the shots falling, missing their next six attempts until a Samantha Waldron (Omaha, Neb.) three-pointer that narrowly beat the buzzer sent the Roos into the second quarter with a 28-15 advantage.
Waldron would go on to knock down three shots from beyond the arc in the contest, filling up the stat sheet with 11 points, three rebounds, three steals and two assists. Both sides played even after a fast paced opening quarter as UMKC continued to hold a double-digit lead throughout the remainder of the first half. Aries Washington (Kansas City, Mo.) and Kristen Moore (Chicago, Ill.) both put together impressive first half performances to lead the Roos.
Washington, who led all scorers with 16 points at halftime, finished her night with a team-high 21 points on 9-of-19 (47.4%) shooting from the field to pair with four rebounds and a pair of assists. Moore, the second UMKC player to hit double figures scoring at half with 11 points, matched her fellow teammate with 21 points of her own along with grabbing a team-high six rebounds on the game.
Entering the second half of play with a commanding 42-28 lead, the Roos came out determined to continue pushing the pace to keep their sizeable advantage intact. UTRGV narrowed the gap to 10 points in the opening minutes of the third period but UMKC quickly responded to squash the momentum. As the period transpired, the team slowly continued to extend the gap and rolled into the final period of play with a 16 point lead.
The Roos’ defense in the final quarter of play stifled every UTRGV attempt to make things interesting in the last 10 minutes of action, limiting the Vaqueros to 3-of-13 (23.1%) field goal shooting in addition to forcing six turnovers in the period. The unrelenting pressure that UMKC continued to deploy throughout the game paid off in a major way, creating a season-high 23 turnovers that led to 27 points the other way.
Paige Husa (Fairbury, Neb.) and Kiana Law (Pittsburgh, Pa.) helped put the finishing touches on the impressive conference win, combining for 10 points, three rebounds and a block in the fourth quarter. India Johnson (Overland Park, Kan.) was the fourth player to reach double-figures scoring for the Roos, putting together an overly solid stat line of 10 points, four rebounds, four assists, and a steal.
“Right now we are really focused on doing what we’re good at and what our strengths are,” noted Hoyt. “It’s important that we are playing our basketball in March and that’s ultimately what I believe we are coming into right now.”
After pushing the lead to a game-large 23 points in the final minute of regulation, UMKC would walk away with a 79-59 victory inside Swinney Recreation Center. The win was number six in Western Athletic Conference play, marking the highest total since the 2013-14 season.
UMKC will play its final home game of the 2017-18 season with a contest against New Mexico State (15-11, 9-3 WAC) on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 1 p.m. CT. The game will serve as Senior Day for the Roos and will be broadcast on the WAC Digital Network free of charge.
– UMKC –