FHSU Sports Information Department
HAYS, Kan. – Chelsea Mason hit a pair of free-throws with three seconds remaining to force overtime and Fort Hays State went on to escape Nebraska-Kearney’s upset bid by a score of 82-75. The No. 1 ranked Tigers moved to 9-0 overall and 3-0 in the MIAA in their first game as the nation’s top-ranked team. UNK went to 5-5 overall and 1-3 in the MIAA.
Neither team led by more than five points throughout regulation. The Lopers held a slim 32-29 lead at halftime and then a 51-49 lead at the end of the third quarter. With 35 seconds remaining in the game, Laramey Becker hit one of two free-throw attempts to put UNK up 66-64. Trying to find a lane to the basket, Mason was fouled with three seconds left. She stepped to the line and sunk two free-throws with the game on the line. The Lopers had a tough look at the basket at the buzzer, but the shot was plenty long, sending the game to overtime.
The Lopers hit the first bucket in overtime, but a Nikola Kacperska 3-point field goal put the Tigers up for good. Beth Bohuslavsky added a layup and Kacperska hit a jumper to push the lead to five with 3:08 remaining. UNK cut the lead back to two, but Jill Faxon pushed it back to five with a 3-point field goal at the 2:11 mark. Bohuslavsky hit a free-throw with 39 seconds to go, then the Lopers missed a 3-point field goal attempt before Bohuslavsky hit two more free-throws to make the margin six. Taylor Chandler added a free-throw late to make the final margin seven.
Mason finished the game with a double-double of 24 points and 11 rebounds. She was 10-of-22 from the field and 3-of-4 at the free-throw line. Faxon had 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting with three 3-point field goals. Kacperska had 13 points, also dropping three 3-pointers. Paige Lunsford had 12 and Bohuslavsky added 11. Bohuslavsky led the team in assists with five while Lunsford added four.
Becker finished with a team-high 17 points for UNK while Kennedy Sander had 16 points and McKenzie Brown had 13. Alexa Hogberg gave the Tiger defense trouble off the dribble, finishing with a game-high nine assists. The Lopers finished at 48.3 percent from the field overall and 78.9 percent at the free-throw line.
FHSU forced UNK into 20 turnovers, the eighth opponent of nine this year that have turned it over 20 or more times. After committing seven turnovers in the first half, the Tigers finished with just eight for the game.
Fort Hays State hits the road next week to take on Central Missouri (Thursday) and Southwest Baptist (Saturday) in the final games before the holiday break. Game time is set for 5:30 pm on Thursday in Warrensburg.
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