Women’s Basketball tips off season with exhibition game

The UMKC women’s basketball team tipped off for the first time on Friday, hosting the Bearcats of Southwest Baptist University.  The teams dominated, winning the night with 104-72.

“We are in a really unique situation,” said head Coach Jacie Hoyt in her presser on WAC media day. “We have 10 new players of 12 coming in.”

Four of the 10 players lost were starters last year. The lost players include Samantha Waldron and Aries Washington, both of whom received all-conference honors last season.

The lone returning starter is redshirt senior Kristen Moore. The media and coaches of the WAC recently named Moore to the Preseason All-WAC First Team. She averaged 14 points and six boards while shooting over 50 percent from the field in 29 starts over the teams last campaign.

Moore has battled adversity her entire collegiate career. The standout forward suffered an ACL injury during her freshman season.

“Kristen Moore is special,” said Hoyt, who is Moore’s second coach in five years. “The growth she has shown in the offseason, as a leader and a mentor to our young kids in incredible.”

Moore will be the biggest sign of optimism for the young Kangaroos, who will feature 10 new players, including seven freshman.

“Our recruiting class consisted of really high achieving kids, state champions, [junior college] all-americans, kids who played in [junior college] national championship games,” said Hoyt. “I love the foundation we are coming in with, [a foundation] of kids who know how to compete at a high level.”

One of the biggest additions to the teams is transfer Ericka Mattingly, a junior.

In high school, the guard led her team to four straight Kansas state championships and was selected to the all-state team her senior year. After playing for UT-Arlington, Mattingly transferred to Butler Community College where she averaged over 14 points a game and shot over 30 percent from beyond the arc. She received NJCAA Division I Third Team All-American honors.

Despite turnover in personnel, coaches and media members picked the Kangaroos to once again finish fifth in the WAC. A year ago the team finished 7-7 in conference play and 11-19 overall.

“I think we are going to surprise a lot of people come conference time,” said Hoyt.

The team will open the season with a few big-name opponents: Kansas and Kansas State. Coach Hoyt is looking forward to the lessons to be learned playing against big caliber schools. The team will use those lessons later in the season during conference play.

“I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but [the team] is not scared of anyone or anything,” said Hoyt. “They don’t care who they are playing against.”

nfmxdd@mail.umkc.edu

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