KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC women’s basketball team (5-12, 1-1 WAC) was unable to secure its third consecutive win Thursday night, falling narrowly to Utah Valley (7-10, 1-1 WAC) by a final score of 66-59.
First quarter action began with Samantha Waldron (Omaha, Neb.) scorching the net with a three-pointer to open up scoring for the game. Waldron would strike again on a fast break layup, pushing the score to 5-2 after a minute and a half scoring draught following the opening two possessions of the contest.
Waldron would continue to burn the Wolverines the remainder of the first half, finishing the first two frames with a game-leading 11 points. The senior guard connected on another attempt from beyond the arc in the midst of a 9-0 UMKC run out of the first quarter media break, guiding the Roos to a 16-9 lead at the end of the opening period.
Waldron finished her night with a game and season-high 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting paired with a six rebounds and a season-high six assists. Simply on fire from long range, she carved her way into the UMKC record book by tying the single-game record with seven made three-pointers in the contest.
“I am very happy for her because she works extremely hard,” noted head coach Jacie Hoyt. “When she is in the zone like that the rest of our team feeds off of it. But I’m not surprised at all that she accomplished that because it’s a product of how hard she works.”
Neither side was able to generate a rhythm to open the second quarter, combining to miss their first five shots and failing to find the scoreboard for the first 2:23. The dry spell subsided with both teams trading shots back and forth in rapid succession. One of Waldron’s seven makes from beyond the arc pushed the UMKC lead to 21-11 at the 7:09 mark of the second quarter, the team’s largest advantage in the game.
Kiana Law (Pittsburgh, Pa.) would convert back to back shots to keep the Roos out front as the first half drew to a close, knocking down a fade-away jumper push the UMKC lead to 25-19 just past midway through the second period. Law, who returned to action for the first time after missing six games with a nose injury, finished with six points and three rebounds in the game.
“It was great to have Kiana back”, said Hoyt. “We will have to gradually work her back in gradually as she gets used to wearing the mask.”
Utah Valley found a way to shift the tide in the final three minutes of the opening half. Consecutive layups by Leya Harvey capped off a 10-0 Wolverines run to give them give them their first edge of the game into halftime, leading 29-25.
The Roos opened up the third quarter of play with a dominant 20-7 run to snatch the lead back from Utah Valley. The stretch included a trio of three-pointers from Waldron and two tough finishes in traffic from Kristen Moore (Chicago, Ill.). Moore put together a solid performance, scoring 14 points on an efficient 7-of-11 (63.6%) shooting from the field in addition to pulling down five rebounds.
With UMKC looking poised to once again pull away in the contest for good, Utah Valley found yet another answer to bring the game back to within striking distance. After an Aries Washington (Kansas City, Mo.) jumper extended the Roos lead to 47-39 with 2:20 to play in the third period, the Wolverines closed out the quarter with five straight points to cut the advantage to one possession.
Washington, the team’s leading scorer at 17.6 points per game, had a relatively quiet scoring night with nine points in the contest. However, the senior guard found other ways to pitch in, securing a team-high seven rebounds to go along with a pair of steals and assists.
“It was a hard-fought battle,” commented Hoyt. “Tonight we got very cold at the end of the game. Sam did a great job of knocking down shots but when she got cooled off we didn’t have anyone else to make shots and Utah Valley made the shots they needed to make to win the game.”
The Roos would extend the lead back to seven at the 8:20, 6:43 and 6:04 marks of the fourth quarter but were unable to find the dagger to seal up a victory. Utah Valley sparked a 10-0 run as UMKC went cold from the field. After shooting 48.7% from the field and 37.5% from beyond the arc, the team combined to go 26.3% in the final period. The stretch would put the Roos down 61-56 with under two minutes to play and did not have a possession with a chance to tie the game the rest of the way.
It was definitely a learning experience for us,” noted Hoyt. “We will need to make some changes but once you hit conference play you have to turn the page and move on to the next one.”
UMKC finish up the two-game home stand with a matchup against Seattle U on Saturday, Jan. 13 at 2 p.m. CT. The game, which serves as the Kansas City day game featuring customized jerseys courtesy Charlie Hustle, will be broadcast on KSMO-TV and the WAC Digital Network free of charge.
– UMKC –