BOCA RATON, Fla. – The UMKC women’s basketball team (3-10) opened up play in the FAU Holiday Classic with a 67-50 win over Stetson (8-7) in Friday afternoon’s contest.
The Roos came into the game having not played in nine days and got off to a somewhat slow start in their return to action. Stetson jumped out of the gates on a 7-2 run, with five points coming from leading scorer Brittney Chambers. Holding Chambers in check was no easy task for UMKC as the senior guard has opened the season scoring in double figures in each of the Hatters’ first 15 games, averaging 17.2 points per game.
Exiting the first quarter media timeout trailing 11-4, the Roos settled in and answered with seven straight points to even up the score. Samantha Waldron (Omaha, Neb.) was a major factor in erasing the early deficit, as she connected on a shot from beyond the arc to spark the run and closed it with a layup at the 0:54 mark of the first period. Waldron was terrific throughout the entire contest, finishing with a tied for game-high 18 points on 7-of-15 (46.7%) shooting and also contributed with six rebounds.
The second quarter began much like the first with Stetson setting the tone with a pair of three-pointers to extend their lead to 20-13. UMKC followed the makes with a dominant stretch of play, executing brilliantly during an 18-2 run that spanned over five minutes of game clock.
The stretch began with a pair of makes from beyond the arc by way of Waldron and India Johnson (Overland Park, Kan.) and included eight points from redshirt junior forward Kristen Moore (Chicago, Ill.). Moore’s jumper, made possible by a nice pass from Johnson, at the 3:22 mark gave the Roos a 31-22 lead with 3:22 to play in the first half.
Moore and Johnson were both equally effective in leading UMKC to a convincing win in the tournament opener. Moore finished the contest with 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field and pulled down a game-high eight rebounds. Johnson poured in 18 points, tied for a game-high with Waldron, but also did a phenomenal job in setting up teammates with her season-high five assists.
With the Roos holding on to a nine point lead in the closing minutes of the second quarter, the team was unable to connect on their last four field goal attempts. Stetson splashed in a three-pointer and used a 1-of-2 trip to the foul line to cut the UMKC lead to 31-26 at the half.
Both sides traded baskets from the start of the third quarter to the media timeout at the 4:20 mark in the period where the Roos grasped a 37-36 lead. UMKC returned to the floor as a team ready to seize complete control of the game. Waldron came up huge with a pair of massive three-pointers, her third and fourth of the game, as the team ended the third period on an 11-4 run and leading 48-40.
The final quarter of play belonged entirely to the Roos as they gave the Stetson zero chance of climbing back into the game. Aries Washington (Kansas City, Mo.) got the period started with a make from beyond the arc to stretch the lead back to double digits for the second and final time of the contest. UMKC outscored Stetson 19-10, on 8-of-13 (61.5%) shooting, in the period as their lead continued to grow as the clock ticked away to 67-50 final score.
Washington scored eight of her ten points in the fourth quarter making her the fourth Roos player to reach double figures in the matchup. Her second made three-pointer extended the UMKC lead to 62-44, the largest of the game, with 2:11 to play. While the shot had little significance on the outcome of the contest, it served as the 1,000th career point mark for the Kansas City native, joining teammate Samantha Waldron in reaching the mark.
“I’m extremely proud of Aries,” noted head coach Jacie Hoyt. “She is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever coached and so committed to her craft. To see her hard work pay off is special.”
UMKC’s defensive performance was outstanding throughout the game and was particularly noticeable in the final quarter of action. Their impressive effort limited Stetson to shooting a meager 2-of-11 (18.2%) in the fourth quarter and also forced a handful of key turnovers. On the game, the Roos limited Stetson to shooting 17-of-53 (32.1%) from the field and scored 22 points off of 18 opponent turnovers.
The game was very much a success for UMKC on the offensive end in addition their gritty defensive showing. The team finished shooting a combined 29-of-59 (49.2%) from the field and moved the ball well in piling up 12 assists.
“This is a great win over a very good team,” commented Hoyt. “I’m so proud of this win for our team because it was a total team effort in which everyone contributed. We challenged our players to be about their business even though we are in such a fun place and they responded very well.”
The Roos are back in action tomorrow afternoon as they are set to take on host FAU at 1:30 p.m. CT in the finale of the FAU Holiday Tournament.
– UMKC –