The women’s basketball team finished their season with a heartbreaking 81-79 loss against the Missouri State Bears in the first round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) Thursday night in Springfield, Mo.
The Roos finished with a 22-12 record, the 22 wins ranking the 2nd most in school history. Senior Dayon Hall-Jones and sophomore Ashli Hill led the Roos with 17 points each. Senior LeAndrea Thomas contributed 14 points, and junior Kim Nezianya scored 12. The Roos outscored the Bears 40-32 in the paint, 20-18 off turnovers and 18-12 on second-chance points.
The Roos out-rebounded their opponents 37-30. On the glass, Hill grabbed a team-high nine rebounds, and Nezianya grabbed seven.
The Roos matched the Bears shot for shot and took a 15-8 lead with senior Brianna Eldridge’s points in the paint.
Both teams were evenly matched in the final three minutes of the first half before senior Jade Tinner’s buzzer-beater gave the Roos a narrow 40-38 lead.
In the second half, the Roos had an 11-4 run, leading 51-42.
The Bears cut the Roos’ lead to 62-61 with six minutes left.
In the final minutes, the teams tied at 74. The Roos missed vital free throws, and the Bears took a 78-74 lead.
On the next possession, Missouri State made two freethrows, leading by five with 25 seconds left. The Bears’ freethrows resulted in an 81-79 loss for the Roos.
With Coach Candace Whitaker, the Lady Roos achieved the second season in school history with more than 20 wins, and appeared in the Summit League Tournament Championship Game for the second time in UMKC history.