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Women’s basketball: Kansas City battles North Dakota State in opening round of conference tournament

The+Kansas+City+Roos+walk+off+the+court+during+a+Saturday+evening+matchup.+%28Julia+Kapros%2FRoo+News%29%0A
The Kansas City Roos walk off the court during a Saturday evening matchup. (Julia Kapros/Roo News)

The Kansas City Roos will travel to Sioux Falls for the Summit League Tournament to face North Dakota State on March 6 at 3 p.m.

Under coach Jacie Hoyt, the Roos have had one of their best seasons. She led her team to a 22-7 record, tied for the most wins since 1991-1992.

Even with a successful season under their belt, the Summit League Tournament will define the success of this team going forward.

Here are three things to look out for as the Roos enter the Summit League Tournament.

Can Kansas City shake off its two-game losing streak?

Prior to Feb. 24, Kansas City sustained a nine-game winning streak against all Summit League opponents. Then, the Roos lost back-to-back to two of the best teams in the Summit League conference. 

However, the Roos defeated North Dakota State twice in the regular season. This should give them some confidence going into the matchup as Kansas City will need to take care of business, starting with their two star players. 

McDavid, Alnatas must score 20+ points per game

Teams around the Summit League know about the deadly duo of graduate forward Brooklyn McDavid and senior Naomie Alnatas, both named to the All-Summit First Team. McDavid claimed the Newcomer of the Year award in the conference. 

These nominations are an example of how important McDavid and Alnatas are to the Roos offense. 

During the regular season, McDavid averaged 15.8, 6.6 and 1.2 assists, while Alnatas had 18.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists. Both players rank top 10 in numerous categories in the league, including points and field goal percentage. 

It is no secret that the Bisons will double team McDavid and Alnatas. But with the help from their teammates, they can continue to terrorize their opponents down the stretch. However, if they are unable to produce, then someone else must step up. 

Who can fill the gap?

Players like Paige Bradford and Kiara Bradley have shown opponents that they can be a nuisance inside the paint when they are occupied with McDavid and Alnatas. They both rank in the top 10 in rebounds (Bradford ranked third, Bradley ranked seventh). 

Senior guard Mandy Willems also excels at the perimeter, as she is ranked second in three-point percentage (.349). The trio of Willems, Bradley and Bradford average almost nine points per game as well. Their defensive tenacity also shouldn’t be overlooked. 

The three starters can make a difference for the team and should continue to be a factor. Additionally, Sanaa’ St. Andre cannot be counted out.

At the beginning of the season, St. Andre had little-to-no minutes, contributing very little for the Roos. However, as each game passed, Hoyt continued to give her looks against conference rivals, and it has paid off for the team. 

In games where she played 15 minutes, she’s averaged 8.2 points, three rebounds and three assists. 

Even if their names aren’t recognized around the league, they all have to contribute heavily to help ease the load for McDavid and Alnatas. 

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Cristian Martinez, Sports Editor
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