BY RAEGAN NEUFELD
PHOTOS BY MADISON SHAPLAND
BY RAEGAN NEUFELD
While Katie Wagner was the only Tiger who scored in double digits,Fort Hays women’s basketball managed a balanced attack behind 30 points off the bench in their 74-63 loss against the Kansas State Wildcats on Monday.
The exhibition game marked the seventh preseason meeting between the two teams. The Tigers trailed 15-14 going into the second quarter before the Wildcats opened up their lead to 34-26 at halftime. FHSU played a big third quarter and got back within one, 47-46, but was outscored 27-17 in the last ten minutes of play.
“The beginning was a little shaky, so I’m proud of us for battling,” Wagner said. “In a game like this there’s high nerves, it’s the first game of the year. But I think once we settled in, we took care of the ball and got good shots.”
Head Coach Tony Hobson said the team met all of the goals they had going into the game.
“The first one was to not get dominated on the boards, just try to compete and be in the neighborhood and we did that,” he said. “The second one was just to come out of here better than what we came in and stay healthy, which we did.”
Wagner finished the game with 17 points and nine rebounds. She led the Tigers last season in points, rebounds, assists and steals per game last season. Transfer forward Clary Donica finished ahead of Wagner in rebounds with ten and contributed seven points. Kate Dilsaver also finished with seven points, followed by Jessie Sallach and Ellie Stearns who each had six.
The Wildcats, who are without star player Ayoka Lee this season due to injury, were led by Gabby Greggory who had 22 points and nine rebounds. Brylee Glenn followed with 15 points.
While Fort Hays shot 38.7 percent from the field compared to the Wildcats’ 37.9 percent, KSU made 12 three-pointers to the Tigers’ seven. Each team pulled down 42 rebounds.
“You just have to love playing games like this,” Wagner said. “It’s good to play teams like this because you know that ultimately we can hang with anybody. I think if we rebound like we did tonight then we can take anybody.”
Hobson shared a similar sentiment.
“You have to be precise against people like this, so anytime you’re faced with that and survive it, it really helps you improve,” he said.
With starting forward Olivia Hollenbeck out recovering from a minor injury, depth proved to be important for the Tigers.
“It’s going to [continue to] be important because the first three weekends we play two games in a row, and that second day you need some depth,” Hobson said. “Anytime you lose your starting post player and still do as good as we did today against a big team, that means you have some pretty good backups.”
The Tigers season officially begins on Saturday in Kansas City with a game against West Texas A&M as a part of the D2CCA Tip-Off Classic. The game is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.