No. 5 Tigers Face Tough Test in MIAA Opener vs. Washburn Wednesday

FHSU Sports Information Department

Fort Hays State enters MIAA play on tonight when it hosts Washburn at Gross Memorial Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 5:30 pm as the No. 5 ranked Tigers enter at 6-0 overall and the Ichabods come in at 4-2 overall. The Tigers will have a tough test on their hands as Washburn already has a win over a top-five ranked team this year.

The Tigers climbed to No. 5 in the most recent WBCA Division II Poll. The Tigers entered the year at No. 10, then moved up to No. 7 in the first regular season poll before jumping to No. 5 this week. That ranking will be put to the test this week with Washburn and No. 1 ranked Emporia State coming to town.

Washburn is a battle tested 4-2 as its has already played two ranked teams this year. The Ichabods play a ranked team for the third time in their last four games on Wednesday. One of their losses was at then No. 11 ranked Drury on November 21, but they bounced back with a win in Florida over then No. 3 ranked Nova Southeastern last week on November 27. They suffered a loss the next day to Palm Beach Atlantic.

The Tigers are coming off a pair of blowout wins over Newman and Sterling last week. On Tuesday, FHSU defeated Newman 76-34, then breezed past Sterling 94-45 on Saturday. FHSU is 5-0 against NCAA Division II competition so far this year.

The Tigers swept the regular season series from Washburn last year, winning 62-58 in Topeka as the No. 6 ranked team in the country, then 74-67 in Hays as the No. 5 ranked team in the country. This is the second straight meeting in Hays between the teams with FHSU as the No. 5 team in the nation. The season sweep last year was the first over Washburn since 1985-86 and also the first pair of consecutive wins over WU since the same year.

The Tigers are led by Jill Faxon, who is averaging a team-best 13.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Chelsea Mason averages 12.3 points while Beth Bohuslavsky averages 10.8 points and 3.5 assists per game. Bohuslavsky currently ranks fifth in the nation in assist/turnover ratio.

Fort Hays State has been a lock-down defensive team so far this year and leads the nation in scoring defense. FHSU is allowing only 45.7 points per game. Wingate is second at 48 points per game. Turning the opposition over has been the key to success as FHSU leads the nation as well in turnover margin (+15.5), forcing an average of 25 turnovers per game out of opponents while committing just 9.5 per game. The 9.5 turnovers per game tie for the lowest average in the nation with South Dakota School of Mines.

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