Love was in the air Valentine’s Day in Swinney Recreation Center as the women’s basketball team downed Summit League high-fliers Oral Roberts in a compelling 81-77 game to remember.
The Lady Roos improved to 12-14 for the season (7-7 in Summit League play) after handing the Golden Eagles only their second defeat in the Summit League this season (17-9, 13-2 in Summit League play).
The Roos were led by Junior Dayon Hall-Jones’ 16 points, who just beat out the season-high personal 13 points for freshman Kaycie Boyles and Eilise O’Connor’s 10-point contribution.
Golden Eagle Kevi Luper had an excellent game as she tallied 20 points in an attempt to match the Roos’ persistence, aided by the 17 points accumulated by teammate Amber Carver.
UMKC could not have asked for a better start as they stormed into a quick first-half lead of 11 points after excellent three-pointers from Texas native Boyles and Kansas City’s own LeAndrea Thomas. As always anticipated in these intense Summit League games, quick responses and fight-backs are part and parcel of every game and the Golden Eagles did not disappoint.
Oral Roberts strung together a collection of boards and threes to go on a 16-4 run to put the Golden Eagles right back in contention and within two points at 20-18, and following a three from the impressive Luper, took their first lead of the contest.
Hall-Jones began to find her feet late in the first half as her lay-up sent her team into the interval with a 40-38 lead against the Summit League leaders.
The second half did not disappoint in terms of entertainment as both teams fought hard in an open affair. Both sides quickly exchanged a brief lead before Hall-Jones boosted the Roos into a 6-0 run and a 54-48 lead,with a three of her own in a half which saw her notch up 12 of her game-total 16-points.
With five minutes and 20 seconds left on the clock, the Golden Eagles stepped up the pace and moved into a well-deserved lead following great scores from Carver. This resulted in an end-to-end attacking finish to the game by both teams as the advantage swung to-and-fro as the minutes ticked down on the scoreboard. The Roos led with a little over two minutes left on the clock, only for top-point scorer on the night Luper to respond almost immediately, leaving the Golden Eagles with a single point lead with just 1 minute and 30 seconds left.
After the Roos scored with less than a minute on the clock to give UMKC a 78-77 lead, junior Brianna Eldridge stole the ball from the opposition, and player of the game Hall-Jones drained a three, with the buzzer and applause of the faithful crowd ringing out to an 81-77 final score.
The victory leaves the Roos tied for sixth position in the Summit League standings and brings there win-loss record to an even .500.
The Roos lost to IUPUI on Saturday 75-61 and head to Western Illinois on Monday, Feb. 21. Summit League Championship qualification is very much on the horizon if solid performances can see the Lady Roos through these two tough road games, but one thing that never fails is that the women’s team never fails to entertain.