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Roo Up: UMKC men's basketball wants to change perception in KC

Roos women eager to build on last season
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Posted at 10:16 PM, Oct 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-16 23:17:39-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The University of Missouri-Kansas City men's and women's basketball teams are eager to tip off in the newly renovated Swinney Center, which promises more of an NCAA Division I atmosphere for Kangaroos players and fans.

It will be a mostly team for new Roos men's basketball coach Billy Donlon as well.

UMKC has 10 newcomers on Donlon's first roster. The former Wright State head coach was an assistant coach at Michigan and Northwestern during the last three seasons.

He hopes to bring in a new culture that focuses not only on teaching his players Xs and Os, but sets them up for success in life after basketball.

Donlon also wants to change the way UMKC hoops in vieweed in Kansas City.

"'Cause it's our city," he said. "Kansas City is our city. We're the only school, we're the only Division I school, with Kansas City in the name. Now, we don't have the history of the other programs, but there's only one school with the name Kansas City in the name. It's our city."

The Roos open Donlon's tenure Nov. 5 against Avila then play at Nov. 9 at Oklahoma State.

UMKC also plays Dec. 4 at Iowa State and will meet Kansas in the team's signature nonconference game Dec. 14 at the Sprint Center.

Meanwhile, women's coach Jacie Hoyt enters her third season and led UMKC to a five-win increase and the programs first winning season since 2011-12 a year ago.

Last season, the Roos (16-15) made reached the semifinals of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament before losing to eventual champion New Mexico State, a loss that has fueled Hoyt's squad since last March.

"That's a feeling that has really motivated us in our offseason," she said. "We talk about it weekly, daily sometimes and just talk about all the things that we want to do this season in order to not have to have that feeling again. "

UMKC, which is ranked third in the WAC Women's Basketball Preseason Poll, plays an exhibition game Oct. 29 against Northwest Missouri State and opens the regular season Nov. 5 against the University of Denver. Both games are at the Swinney Center.

After playing in the Preseason WNIT, the Roos host Missouri on Dec. 8 and play Kansas State on Dec. 14 at Municipal Auditorium.