Tough Defense Key for No. 5 Tigers in Late Comeback Win Against Washburn

FHSU Sports Information Department

HAYS, Kan. – Fort Hays State used another strong defensive effort to pull out a 62-54 win over Washburn on Wednesday night (Dec. 2). The No. 5 Tigers trailed the entire second and third quarters before finally overtaking the Ichabods with 2:15 remaining in the game. FHSU is now 7-0 overall, 1-0 in the MIAA while Washburn moved to 4-3, 0-1 in the MIAA.

Fort Hays State used a 10-0 run to close the game to escape Washburn and claim its third straight win in the series. A layup by Chelsea Mason with 2:15 to go pushed the Tigers ahead by one, then she hit a jumper with 1:52 remaining to push the lead to three. A pair of turnovers by Washburn were key as the Tigers finished their comeback with Beth Bohuslavsky and Nikola Kacperska hitting free-throws late.

Turnovers were the key to success for the Tigers as they scored 23 points off Washburn’s mistakes. FHSU forced WU into 26 turnovers and committed just three while recording 13 steals. That was a big factor as the FHSU offense struggled to get things going in the half-court set on offense. FHSU shot just 30.3 percent for the game, compared to 44.4 for Washburn. FHSU continues to lead the nation in turnover margin at +16.6.

Washburn’s largest lead of the game was 11 points at the 3:03 mark of the second quarter, but FHSU closed the half on a 7-0 run to make it 28-24 in favor of Washburn at the half. FHSU trailed by that same margin entering the fourth quarter. FHSU outscored WU in the fourth quarter 20-8.

Bohuslavsky led the Tigers in scoring with 17 points while handing out a team-high three assists. Chelsea Mason struggled with her shot early but found it in the clutch to finish with 12 points. Paige Lunsford had 11 points and a team-high six rebounds.

Jayna Smith and Erika Lane tied with a team-high 13 points for Washburn. Felisha Gibbs added 10. Smith led Washburn in rebounds (8) and assists (5) as well.

Fort Hays State remains unbeaten heading into the big match-up with No. 1 ranked Emporia State on Saturday at 2 pm. A rematch of last year’s Central Regional Final of the NCAA Tournament, the teams meet for the fifth consecutive time with both inside the top 10 of the national rankings. Emporia State plays at Nebraska-Kearney on Thursday night (Dec. 3) before heading to Hays on Saturday.

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