LAS VEGAS, Nev. – UMKC women’s basketball (10-18) overcame an 18-point deficit to defeat UT Rio Grande Valley (18-13) in a Western Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinal Wednesday afternoon at the Orleans Arena. The Roos went on a 19-0 run over the final 6:56 of the first half and increased the run to 29-1 over a stretch covering 10:27 early into the third quarter.
Kristen Moore (Chicago, Ill.) led UMKC with 19 points and a game-high nine rebounds in 26 minutes of action. She was 9-for-10 from the free throw line. Ceidra Coleman (Bryan, Texas) added 14 points, five assists and five rebounds. Lyndsay Leikem (Tucson, Ariz.) notched 13 points and seven rebounds.
"This team has faced so much adversity this season that there was no way they were done fighting,” head coach Marsha Frese said. “Once they got the nerves out of the way, they were aggressive and poised down the stretch, and really proved how much they wanted this game."
The Roos shot 43 percent (28-for-65) from the floor, 46 percent (6-for-13) from 3-point range and 83 percent from the foul line for the game. UMKC limited UTRGV to 38 percent (23-for-60) shooting from the field and 29 percent (6-for-21) from distance.
It was a game of runs throughout with five ties and three lead changes. After the score was tied 7-7, UTRGV went on a 21-3 run over 7:44, which closed the first quarter and extended early into the second frame. From there, the Roos held the Vaqueros scoreless for the final 6:56 of the first half and outscored UTRGV 21-11 in the second quarter.
After UMKC pulled ahead 45-36 on two free throws by Kiana Law (Pittsburgh, Pa.) with 5:13 left in the third, UTRGV answered by closing the quarter on a 17-4 run over the final 5:03.
UMKC regained the lead on a 3-pointer by Kelsey Barrett (Kansas City, Mo.) on the opening possession of the fourth quarter. After the teams traded buckets and the game was tied 57-57, Leikem converted a go-ahead layup with 6:38 remaining following a pass from India Johnson (Overland Park, Kan.) and the Roos would not trail again.
After UTRGV pulled within three at 69-66 with 2:14 left, Leikem again converted a clutch lay-in with 1:28 left on a pass from Coleman to extend the lead to five points. From there, UMKC scored eight straight points to seal the game. Moore connected on four free throws in the final 31 seconds to cement the first WAC Tournament victory in program history.
Shawnte’ Goff led the Vaqueros with a game-best 30 points to go along with four assists and three steals.
The Roos face top-seeded New Mexico State (22-6) at 2 p.m. Friday in a contest that will be live streamed via ESPN3.
– UMKC –