Kansas City’s women’s basketball team fell to Davidson 64-74 in a hard fought loss last Saturday at Swinney Center.
The Roos opened up the game in a 1-3-1 zone defense that gave the Wildcats problems for much of the first quarter. Davidson had to settle for contested perimeter shots that had little chance of going in. Kansas City’s length and tenacity gave the Wildcats headaches in attempting to dissect the defense, and find open pockets to penetrate.
Fortunately for the Wildcats, they were able to dominate the glass to create multiple second-chance looks at the basket. Kansas City utilized Davidson’s missed opportunities in transition to create fast break points on the other end of the court.
Senior guard Ericka Mattingly had her way with Davidson’s defense early on, beating defenders on the dribble to the rack. Mattingly would either finish with a layup or draw a foul to score easy points at the line.
By the end of the first quarter, however, Davidson began converting its second chance shots on a consistent basis, preventing Kansas City from breaking out in transition. The Wildcats closed the first quarter on a 12-4 run to give them 15-12 lead heading into the second quarter.
The Roos presented Davidson with a press defense that shifted into a 2-3 zone. This created frustrations for Davidson’s offense, as the team had to beat the press and then run an offensive set with around 15 seconds on the shot clock. Like the end of the first quarter, Davidson eventually figured out Kansas City’s scheme, consistently finding open shots in the lane.
The game went from a slow, stagnant contest to a fast paced transition game as each team looked to exploit the other’s defense on the fast break.
Center Cristina Soriano and guard Eicka Mattingly kept Kansas City within striking distance. Soriano dominated inside, scoring 12 points on four-of-seven shooting from the floor, while Mattingly added 11 points and four boards.
Despite being outrebounded 16-22 and shooting 33% from the field, Kansas City found themselves only down 32-35 heading into the half.
The second half began as sloppily as it could get, with both teams going without a basket for nearly four minutes. Shooting guard Emily Ivory opened up the scoring with a three-pointer from the top of the key with around five minutes left in the quarter. Davidson responded with a 10-0 run to give the Wildcats a 45-35 lead late in the third, but the Roos answered with a 9-0 run of their own to close out the quarter. Ivory capped off the run with a floater as time expired, and Kansas City headed into the fourth with a 44-47 deficit.
The Roos kept their foot on the pedal to begin the quarter, with Ivory again scoring from downtown. Just like the third quarter, Davidson responded with a 9-0 run to take a 56-47 lead into the final five minutes, but Kansas City clawed itself back into the game with a 8-0 run of its own. The Roos used their athletic ability and length to score inside for much of the run and clamped down on the defensive side of the ball.
Davidson stopped the bleeding with a transition layup, forcing the Roos to use a timeout. Kansas City committed an inexcusable turnover coming out of the stoppage and quickly paid for it, with Davidson’s guard Suzi-Rose Deegan hitting one of her four threes to give the Wildcats a six-point cushion with a little over two minutes remaining. Deegan was not done, however, hitting a dagger three with 30 seconds left in the game, giving Davidson a comfortable lead to lean on the rest of the way. Deegan finished with a career high 31 points, and Kansas City had no answer whatsoever for her throughout the entire game.
Mattingly scored 21 points for the Roos, while Ivory contributed 17. Kansas City finished the game shooting 36% from the field and a dismal 17% from beyond the arc.
Kansas City returns to Swinney Center to host Rockhurst on Nov. 19 at 6 pm.