Column: Kansas City Women’s Basketball Season-In-Review

Lane Mayo, Staff Writer

The tumultuous tale of the 2022-2023 Kansas City Roos women’s basketball season can only be properly defined as a roller coaster. A chaotic, treacherous, yet enthralling ride the program has never, and hopefully will never have to endure again (in most instances).


Regular Season Catastrophe

  Under the leadership of first-year head coach Dionnah Jackson-Durrett, Kansas City kicked off their season with a subpar record of 4-7 in non-conference play, including an exhibition loss to Division II ranked Pittsburg State to boot. 

  As they entered conference play, the Roos appeared to be in a good position to achieve success, but fate seemed to have other plans in store.

  Early on, junior guard Sanaa’ St. Andre suffered a facial injury that forced her to sit on the sidelines for nearly seven weeks. In addition, junior forward Dani Winslow announced her departure from the team due to personal reasons just days after. 

  This unexpected turn of events left the Roos struggling to start the second half of the season. The team lost three more members of the team, including graduate “sixth-player” guard Ra’Von Nero, further exacerbating the situation.

  With a depleted roster down to just 10 women, the Roos experienced an eight-game losing streak to end the season, which landed them last place in the conference with a 7-22 overall record by the end of the regular season. 

  Despite the numerous challenges they faced, coach Jackson-Durrett and her team remained determined as they prepared for the Summit League Tournament.


March Magic Comes Alive for “Mighty Seven”

  The last-place Roos, who only brought seven players to the tournament, managed to pull off back-to-back wins against the seven-seeded Denver Pioneers and the two-seeded North Dakota State Bison. 

  With standout performances by graduate guards Mannah Mensah and E’Lease Stafford, their efforts culminated in a historic run for the Roos. They became the first 10 seed to ever reach the semi-final round.

  However, their journey ended in the semi-finals with a 60-69 loss to the sixth-seeded Omaha Mavericks, where the Roos’ roster was impacted by foul trouble early in the game. 

  Despite coming up just short in the semifinals, the Roos’ performance in the tournament was remarkable and exceeded many expectations. 

  Their grit and determination in the face of adversity, as well as their ability to pull off back-to-back upsets, showcased the strength of the team’s character and the outstanding coaching by Dionnah Jackson-Durrett.


Looking Ahead

  The Roos endured a season that can be divided into two distinct halves; a regular season that rivals one of the worst in program history, and a tournament run that rivals one of the best. 

  Heading into the off-season, Jackson-Durrett and her program mustn’t be conceited in the fact that they made this impressive tournament run. Stafford, Mensah, and junior forward Machia Mullens all departed at season’s end (the catalysts of their fairy tale run throughout the tournament), and some massive gaps in her roster need to be filled. 

  Hitting the transfer portal hard over the off-season will be pivotal towards next season on whether or not they can top their tournament success. What they cannot mirror is their regular-season performance this past season, as a repeat of this magnitude would surely put Jackson-Durrett’s head coaching duties in jeopardy.

  As much as I love the culture that Jackson-Durrett looks to be building around the program heading into her second season as Roos’ head coach, culture alone won’t win you basketball games. This upcoming season will be pivotal for the longevity of her time here in Kansas City, and she will be able to build off of her recent tournament success and turn this team into a winning program for many years to come.


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