By FHSU SPORTS INFORMATION
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The No. 9 Fort Hays State women’s basketball team fought off Northeastern State Saturday afternoon (Feb. 13), winning 70-58. The Tigers (16-2, 16-2 MIAA) hit 47.5 percent from the floor (28-of-59) while forcing 14 turnovers and holding the RiverHawks (5-14, 5-14 MIAA) to a 37.5 percent effort (21-of-56).
The teams went back-and-forth for much of the first quarter, with the lead changing hands six times. Northeastern State hit its first three 3-pointers and led by as many as five early on before wrapping up the first quarter up 17-16. The RiverHawks held FHSU to just 37.5 percent shooting (6-of-16), but the Tigers responded by hitting at least half of their shots in each of the final three frames.
Fort Hays State scored the first four points of the second quarter, taking the lead for good. Olivia Hollenbeck put the Tigers in front with a driving layup before Jaden Hobbs put back her own miss, prompting a RiverHawk timeout less than three minutes into the second period.
Consecutive baskets from Katie Wagner followed a Hobbs 3-pointer, giving the Tigers a seven-point run over the heart of the quarter to build the lead to eight, 29-21. NSU closed within three late in the half before Hobbs finished the quarter with a layup to make the halftime score 34-29.
The Tigers held Northeastern State to just one field goal over the first nine-and-a-half minutes, building a 13-point lead in the process. A trio of freshmen combined for an 8-0 run, including a layup from Wagner, a jumper from Sydney Golladay and back-to-back buckets from Jessie Sallach. NSU scored five points in the final 25 seconds of the quarter to close within 49-41 with 10 minutes to play.
Fort Hays State used another 8-0 run early in the fourth quarter to build its largest lead of the afternoon, 57-43. Hollenbeck converted a 3-point play before Hobbs dropped in two free throws. Madison Mittie capped off the run with a 3-pointer, giving the Tigers a 14-point lead with 7:28 to play.
Northeastern State made one final run over the heart of the fourth quarter, hitting its next four shots to close within five behind an 11-2 run. Hobbs thwarted the run with a big 3-pointer, splashing in her third triple of the game off a pass from Golladay.
Wagner scored on the next two Tiger possessions, quickly putting FHSU back up by 12 with less than three minutes to go.
Fort Hays State controlled the glass, outrebounding the RiverHawks by nine, 38-29. The Tigers hit better than 45 percent from the floor for the eighth time this season.
Northeastern State hit 45 percent from behind the arc (9-of-20) and didn’t miss from the free-throw line (7-of-7). But the Tigers dominated in the paint, outscoring NSU 42-20 while holding the RiverHawks to just 33.3 percent shooting (12-of-36) from inside the 3-point line.
Hobbs led the Tigers with 17 points while dishing out five assists and poking away two steals. Wagner added 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting while grabbing five rebounds and adding two assists.
Whitney Randall scored 13 points and added four rebounds. Hollenbeck just missed her second straight double-double after scoring nine points and grabbing a career-high 11 rebounds. The freshman forward also blocked four shots.
Mittie chipped in eight points and five rebounds while Golladay totaled five points, two assists and two steals.
Fort Hays State returns to Gross Memorial Coliseum for its final two regular season home games next week, with the Tigers hosting Lincoln at 5:30 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 18) before facing off with fellow league-leader Central Missouri at 2 p.m. Saturday (Feb. 20).