A 22-2 run midway through the second half helped lead UMKC to a 70-54 victory over Valparaiso on Monday evening in Kansas City, Mo.
The Kangaroos shot 58% for the game and made 14 of their first 17 shots in the second half.
UMKC took an early 11-4 lead before Valpo scored 15 of the next 19 points to take a four point lead at the 6:25 mark after a jumper by Betsy Rietema (Grand Rapids, Mich./Christian H.S.). A 9-0 spurt near the end of the half gave UMKC the lead for good, and the Kangaroos took a 30-25 advantage into the locker room.
Jamie Gutowski (Crown Point, Ind./Andrean H.S.) opened the second-half with a triple to cut the deficit to two, and the Crusaders were down just five, 42-37, at the 12:49 mark before the run by the Kangaroos pushed the lead to 25. Valpo scored the last seven points of the game to cut into the lead.
Rietema led the Brown and Gold with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Suzie Hammel (Lafeyette, Ind./Lebanon H.S.) added 12 points and registered five steals. Gutowski added 11 more points for the Crusaders.
Casey Ellis led the Kangaroos with 22 points, 13 in the second half, while Carlai Moore added 17 points and ten rebounds. Katie Houlehan contributed 12 points to the UMKC offense.
Valpo forced 23 UMKC turnovers, but committed 16 of its own and shot just 36.8% from the floor. UMKC (7-7, 4-0 Mid-Con) outrebounded the Crusaders 35-25.
Valparaiso (7-8, 2-2) will return home on Saturday afternoon to host Western Illinois in a 2:05 p.m. contest at the Athletics-Recreation Center.