UMKC announced a change of direction for the basketball program in the middle of March after relieving head coach Marsha Frese of her duties.
Frese coached the Roos for five seasons, during which the team record was 47-101. Her replacement has yet to be announced.
The new coach will inherit seven juniors going into their senior year, as well as two future sophomores and a junior.
University News sat down with India Johnson and Kristen Moore to find out what part of their game they are working on, how the team is dealing with this change, and what they want the new coach to know.
“We already have everything that we need, so I just feel like if [the new coach] can put it all perfectly together, that is all I want,” said Johnson. “At the end of the day I just want to win games and make it to the tournament.”
Johnson made two game-winning shots this past season, and will be going into her senior year of athletic eligibility. The year before last she tore her ACL, and throughout this past season has had her eye on getting back to 100 percent.
“I think our biggest thing will be eliminating turnovers, and I think that will help us, not just against New Mexico State, but against any team we play,” said Johnson.
Although the Roos finished the regular season 10-19, they played well against the best teams in conference. UMKC traveled to New Mexico State University (NMSU) for the first conference season game and only lost by four points.
Winning this game could have changed the team’s season trajectory.
Kristen Moore averaged 10 points per game at the end of the season. In the conference tournament Moore put up 23 points in the semi-final game against NMSU, but the Roos lost 63-71. NMSU went on to win the tournament and lose in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Injuries were an issue for the team in the middle of the season.
“Kiana (Law) and Ceidra (Coleman) got hurt, so I feel like the team needed something more, because they both added so much to the team,” said Moore. “I wanted to try to maintain that when they came back, so it’d be even better with them here.”
The coach that inherits next year’s team will have a lot of talent at his or her disposal. Having seven seniors can be a task, because as the saying implies, it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.
It will be important for the basketball leadership to give the new coach an opportunity by listening to their philosophy.
“I’m hoping we can get better at the little things that hindered us from being a good team this past season,” said Johnson. “The team that makes the fewest mistakes is the team that will win, and that was always true.”