LAS VEGAS, Nev.– The UMKC Kangaroos (11-19, 7-7 WAC) fell to the Seattle U Redhawks 75-64 in the quarterfinals of the WAC Tournament on Wednesday night bringing a close to a season that saw the Roos post a fifth place finish in the conference under first year head coach Jacie Hoyt.
Senior Aries Washington (Kansas City, Mo.) and junior Kristen Moore (Chicago, Ill.) paced the Roos with 17 points apiece while seniors India Johnson (Overland Park, KS) and Kiana Law (Pittsburgh, Pa.) both scored 15. Law nearly posted a double-double grabbing nine rebounds while Johnson had eight boards and Washington nabbed seven.
“Defensively I think we did really well and generated a lot of turnovers,” noted Hoyt. “Offensively we struggled, they took us out of our rhythm. We had a lot of double-digit performances but at the end of the day, we needed to get off to a better start and we weren’t able to do that.”
The Roos forced Seattle into 21 turnovers and their first-team all-league performer Alexis Montgomery to only nine points on 3-9 shooting. However, WAC freshman of the year Kallin Spiller posted a double-double with 28 points and 14 rebounds.
UMKC never led in the contest as Seattle scored the game’s first six points before a three-pointer from Johnson got the Roos on the board. The lead reached as many as seven before the Roos closed the gap by scoring the final five points of the opening quarter, all by Moore, and trailed by just two after the opening 10 minutes. UMKC’s defense forced eight Redhawk turnovers in the first period.
Early in the second quarter, Seattle went on an 8-0 run over a span of 2:45 pushing their lead up to 11. UMKC battled back to within seven on three occasions including with 2:11 to go in the half on a Kiana Law jumper. The Redhawks responded though with the last six points of the half including a buzzer beating layup.
The teams exchanged baskets for most of the third quarter with the lead reaching as many as 17 before a quick spurt by the Roos, capped by an Aries Washington three-pointer, cut it down to 11. UMKC got to within 10 in the final minute of the third before a late period Seattle three put the deficit at 13 at the end of the quarter.
Seattle opened the fourth by extending their lead out to 17 again only to see the Roos answer with seven straight points including five in a row from Kiana Law to pull within 60-50 with 8:20 remaining. The momentum was short-lived though as the Redhawks came back with a 9-1 surge over a three minute span to regain control. UMKC continued to battle but was never able to cut the margin to single digits.
“I was so fortunate and blessed this year to inherit a group of kids that were not just good players but good people,” commented Hoyt. “I’m so thankful for the way they bought into me and my system from day one.”
UMKC ends the season with an 11-19 record including a 7-7 mark in the WAC. Seattle U is now 16-14 on the year and will face top seeded New Mexico State in the tournament semi-finals on Friday afternoon.
– UMKC –