By FHSU SPORTS INFORMATION
WARRENSBURG, Mo. – The Fort Hays State women’s basketball team fell to a sharp-shooting #21 Central Missouri squad Thursday evening (Jan. 7), 79-72. The Tigers (5-2, 5-2 MIAA) led by as many as nine midway through the first quarter, but the Jennies (7-0, 7-0 MIAA) hit nearly 51 percent from the floor and nine 3-pointers to pull away with the win.
After the teams traded buckets early on, Fort Hays State went on an 11-2 run to race in front by nine just five minutes into the game, 15-6. Jaden Hobbs started the run with a 3-pointer before Olivia Hollenbeck followed with a traditional three-point play on the following possession. Sydney Golladay knocked down a shot from behind the arc one minute later before Whitney Randall capped off the run with a layup.
Central Missouri finished the quarter on a 7-2 run to close within four, 17-13, before turning things on in the second quarter. The Jennies hit 10-of-16 from the floor and 3-of-6 from deep to race out to 29 points in the second frame, the most points allowed by the Tigers in a quarter this season. The Tigers tried to keep pace, also hitting better than 60 percent from the floor (8-of-12), but six turnovers in the quarter helped UCM take a five-point lead into the break, 42-37.
The Jennies kept things rolling in the third quarter, again hitting 50 percent from behind the arc (4-of-8). Fort Hays State trailed by as many as 13, 52-39, after UCM opened the second half on a 10-2 run. The Tigers were held at bay for the rest of the third quarter, trailing by 11 at the end of the frame, 64-53.
Three-pointers from Lauryn Reither and Hobbs helped the Tigers close within two possessions with five minutes left in the game, 71-65, but UCM freshman Olivia Nelson responded with back-to-back buckets to push the lead back to nine.
Fort Hays State got within five with 34 seconds on the clock thanks to multiple defensive stops, but UCM was a perfect 4-for-4 from the line down the stretch to seal the win.
The Tigers hit 49 percent from the floor (25-of-51), including 40 percent from behind the arc (6-of-15), but committed a season-high 20 turnovers. FHSU was outrebounded by the Jennies by six, 30-24.
Hobbs led the Tigers with a season-high 26 points thanks to four 3-pointers while adding five rebounds and a team-best six assists. Randall added 12 points while Katie Wagner contributed 11 points and a team-high six rebounds.
Fort Hays State returns to action Saturday when the Tigers wrap up the road trip against Lincoln in Jefferson City, Mo. First tip is slated for 1 p.m.