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Roo’s sit 4th in Summit League despite loss

Head Coach Candace Whitaker calls the Roos for a timeout.
Head Coach Candace Whitaker calls the Roos for a timeout.

Despite a 79-73 loss to South Dakota State on Saturday night at Swinney Recreation Center, the Lady Roos remain in 4th place position in the Summit League. The Roos (15-10, 6-7 in the league) were led by junior Kim Nezianya’s 16 points against the 1st place Jackrabbits (13-1 in the league).

Dayon Hall-Jones and sophomore Eilise O’Connor both tallied 12 points each.

The Roos opened a 15-point lead before heading into the break with a 39-23 lead. However, the Jackrabbits came out strong in the second half, tying the score at 53 before taking control. They sealed their victory with four straight free throws.

The Roos forced nine steals, leading Head Coach Candace Whitaker to say, “We’re strong, athletic and deep with our bench. But we must improve on our consistency. That is a key attribute that we’ll need to take that next step and to discourage our opponents.”

Whitaker pointed to diligent game preparation as a source of the team’s overall success.

“Every opponent is different,” she said. “Our staff prepares written and video scouting reports before each game. Our team is prepared for their opponent’s offense and defensive tendencies.”

With just five games remaining in conference play, Whitaker remained upbeat about making the post-season tournament and said she is confident that the team has improved from last season.

“We had several players commit themselves this summer and offseason to improving their skills and shape,” she said. “We played well early with a 9-3 non-conference record. We had the best start in UMKC history since 1991.

“Our team can beat anyone in the league or lose to anyone in the league. This league is very tough. We have to be ready every night.”

The Blue & Gold will now face North Dakota State on Feb. 13 at Swinney before traveling on Feb. 18 to Macomb, Ill., to face Western Illinois.

tmoore@unews.com

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