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Lady Roos coast to victory

Photo courtesy UMKC athletics
Women’s basketball player Dayon Hall-Jones helped deliver a victory against IUPUI at Swinney Recreation Center on Jan. 24.

The women’s basketball team handily beat Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis (IUPUI) with a commanding performance that resulted in an entertaining display, but most importantly gave them a win, outscoring the Jaguars 73-55.

Swinney Recreation Center (SRC) was the location for the women’s basketball team’s Summit League Conference game versus the IUPUI Jaguars on Monday, Jan. 24.

The 7 p.m. showdown at the SRC saw the Roos coming off a 58-51 home win against Summit League opponents Western Illinois just two days earlier.

To keep their momentum going strong, the Lady Roos needed a compelling victory in front of their home supporters, a fan base that has grown significantly since the beginning of the new year.

Coming into this game, the Roos, 9-11, 4-5 in Summit League play, desperately needed another victory to sustain Summit League Championship hopes and would combat a struggling IUPUI team, 3-16, 1-8 in Summit League play, for this victory.

UMKC wasted little time in getting started, storming into a 7-0 lead with juniors Brianna Eldridge and Jade Tinner finding the basket with ease early on. The Jaguars had a brief spell where they showed promise, coming within three points of the Roos to make it 12-9, but this was short-lived as junior Dayon Hall-Jones put her foot on the gas to steer UMKC to a commanding 30-17 lead, adding nine points of her own.

Jaguar Dawn Luster’s six points had momentarily threatened an IUPUI revival, but this personal display could not halt the swift play of the Roos as they sailed into a comfortable 33-21 half-time lead.

To this point IUPUI had struggled to find consistency in their game. UMKC’s excellent free-throw conversion didn’t help them.

The Jaguars did, however, make an early scoring start to the second half with Kerah Nelson notching up 10 points, but this effectively proved to be just a splash in the pan as UMKC met its Summit League counterparts shot for shot and extended its lead to 44-30 with just 15:10 remaining on the clock.

The short intermission which followed saw the infamous UMKC “Chicken Dance” take center stage. From the young and innocent, right through to the old and immature, this light-hearted performance echoed the exuberance and confidence of the Roos’ fans as they witnessed their team rip the Jaguars apart.

Tinner had continued her steady scoring as it built to 12 points, while Eldridge and Freshman Elise O’ Connor pitched in with six points each to prove the overall effort of this ‘team’ performance.

The IUPUI Jaguars huffed and puffed on occasion during the confidence-blowing consistency of the UMKC effort, but never really seemed to get going as their deficit rose to 66-47 as the game quickly passed them by.

With just 1:20 left on the clock, the scoreboard made for happy reading, as the Roos were winning 71-53. Tinner was chosen as Player of the Game by the Kangaroo faithful. Hall-Jones was narrowly beaten to this accolade as she put on a dazzling display to total a team-high 13 points in this game.

So was it the Silly Bandz giveaway, the Chik-Fil-A Half-Court Challenge, the Buffalo Wild Wings Chicken Catching Contest or the ever-smiling faces and entertainment of the cheer and dance teams that made this such a lively occasion for the fans?

Whatever the reason, the women’s basketball team certainly lived up to the expectations of its fan-base and will have entertained more than enough to fill the house in the next home encounter at Swinney Recreation Center against Centenary on Feb. 12, 4 p.m.

Next up for the Roos is a three-game road trip which sees them play North Dakota State, South Dakota State and Southern Utah in an effort to keep their winning streak going and consolidate their current position inside the Summit League Championship play-off spots.

lharman@unews.com

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