Roos’ Fairytale Journey to the Summit League Championship Comes Up Short

Coach Dionnah Jackson-Durrett will now prepare for the upcoming season for the Roos.

Lane Mayo, Staff Writer

Kansas City’s hopes of reaching the Summit League Championship game have come to an end, as the Omaha Mavericks defeated the Roos 69-60.

  The Mavericks started the game hot, as sophomore guard Grace Cave scored the team’s first eight points, giving Omaha an early 20-13 first-quarter lead.

  Kansas City kept it close in the second quarter, as spirited efforts by graduate guards E’Lease Stafford and Mannah Mensah cut the Roos’ deficit down to just two points at halftime.

  Kansas City fell into early foul trouble once again, as junior guard Sanna’ St. Andre picked up three fouls in the first half, forcing her to play limited minutes in back-to-back contests. Junior forward Machia Mullens also picked up three fouls in the half, leaving the Roos’ thin roster to be stretched extra thin throughout the second half.

  As the start of the third quarter loomed, Head Coach Dionnah Jackson-Durrett was up a creek without a paddle. But, as she has done time and time again throughout this tournament, she rallied the team around her when they needed her most.

  Omaha troubled the Roos once more early in the third quarter, as both St. Andre and Mullens returned to the bench each with four fouls, giving the likes of freshmen Trinity Moreland and Zaire Harrell more playing time than they had seen nearly all season long.

  With Omaha shooting an ugly 0-6 from the three-point line to begin the second half, Kansas City was able to stay in touch with them as they entered the fourth quarter, trailing by just a handful of points in a low-scoring 48-44 affair.

  As the quarter persisted, Omaha’s constant pressure from below the basket gave the Roos trouble, allowing the likes of graduate center Elena Pilakouta and Cave to keep the game out of reach, aided by late free-throws from sophomore guard Kennedi Grant and junior guard Katie Keitges.

  As the final few seconds ticked away on the Roos’ season, they tried desperately to claw their way back into the contest. But, with 42 seconds to go, a missed shot from downtown by Stafford all but sealed it for the Mavericks.

  After the game, coach Jackson-Durrett expressed her admiration towards both Stafford and Mensah and the dedication they made to this team throughout their time here in Kansas City.

  “For E’Lease and Mannah, [I’m] grateful that they trusted me enough to come and play for me for a short period of time,” Jackson-Durrett said. “And hopefully, I’ve helped them grow their game because they’ve definitely helped me as a coach to grow.”

  The Roos now shift their focus towards the offseason, where they look to build off their tournament success as they head into the 2023-2024 season under their second year with Coach Jackson-Durrett.

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