UMKC Falls To South Dakota State In Heartbreaking Fashion, 78-77 In Summit League Championship Final
UMKC Athletics 3-6-2012
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(Sioux Falls, S.D.)  -- The No. 3 seed UMKC women's basketball team (22-11, 11-7) fell in the 2012 Summit League Championship Final, 78-77 in overtime to South Dakota State (24-8, 16-2) on Tuesday afternoon at the Sioux Falls Arena.

Senior Dayon Hall-Jones finished with a team-high 27 including 19 in the second half and overtime.  Junior Kim Nezianya added 17 points and 12 rebounds for her eighth double-double of the season and second of the tournament, while sophomore Eilise O'Connor was the only other Kangaroo in double figures, finishing with 11 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals.

The 'Roos opened the game hot from the field, taking a 13 point lead 7:45 in, with Nezianya scoring the Kangaroos' first six points and Hall-Jones drilling two threes during the stretch.

The Jackrabbits battled back to cut the lead to seven at 23-16, but a 10-0 run, capped by a three from the left corner by junior Emile Blakesley, stretched the UMKC lead to a game-high 17 with 3:07 left in the first half.

SDSU, though, would close the half on an 11-3 run to close the margin to 36-27 heading into halftime.

Coming out of the break, the Jacks would continue their run, scoring the first nine points out of the locker room to tie the game at 36 less than two minutes into the half.

A LeAndrea Thomas free throw and a Brianna Eldridge layup put the 'Roos back in front by three, but three consecutive threes by SDSU gave the Jacks their first lead of the game at 45-44 with 12:30 on the clock.

South Dakota State would go on to build its lead to six twice, including at the 3:54 mark when they went ahead 65-59, but the 'Roos would not go quietly as Nezianya started an 8-2 run by UMKC with a rebound put back.

Hall-Jones followed with a layup of her own on the ensuing UMKC possession, and after SDSU field goal, the senior hit a jumper in the lane to pull the 'Roos to within two with 1:35 left in regulation.

UMKC then forced a stop on the defensive end and Eldridge collected an offensive rebound and converted the layup to tie the game at 67.

Each team would come up empty on their final two possession of regulation, sending the game into overtime.

In the overtime, the 'Roos struck first with a Nezianya jumper, but SDSU answered with a jumper of their own to tie the game for the eighth time.

Sophomore Ashli Hill drilled a jumper in the lane on the next UMKC possession, but, after both teams hit a pair of free throws, a three-point play and a layup on back-to-back possessions by the Jacks put the No. 1 seed in front by three at the 1:46 mark of overtime.

The 'Roos, though, would have one final charge as O'Connor drained back-to-back jumpers to put the UMCK back in front by one with just 33 second left to play.

On South Dakota State's final possession, the 'Roos would force a miss, but the Jacks collected the rebound and senior Jill Young drove to the left and was fouled sending her to the line for two free throws.

At the line, the 90 percent free throw shooter hit both, putting SDSU on top by one with 7.1 on the clock.

On the final UMKC possession, Hall-Jones drove the lane but was unable to convert, giving the Jackrabbits the 78-77 win.

As a team, the 'Roos out-rebounded SDSU 46-37, while outscoring them 17-5 on second chance points.  Individually, senior Brianna Eldridge registered four points, seven rebounds and three assists, while fellow senior LeAndrea Thomas finished with six points, two rebounds and an assist.

Senior Jade Tinner, meanwhile, grabbed six rebounds and scored four points, while junior Emile Blakesley buried a pair of three for six points.

The Blue & Gold will now wait to hear from the Women's National Invitational Tournament or the Women's Basketball Invitational to see where they will continue their season.

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