Bearcats Upset No. 1 Ranked Tigers in Bolivar

FHSU Sports Information Department

BOLIVAR, Mo. – Southwest Baptist used a fast start and never let up as it upset No. 1 ranked Fort Hays State on Saturday (Dec. 19). A 3-2 lead for 16 seconds in the first quarter was the only lead the Tigers enjoyed as they tried time and time again to get past a red-hot shooting Bearcat team, but never could muster a big enough run to avoid the upset.

FHSU surrendered a season-high 82 points in the loss. The previous high was 75 in the overtime win over Nebraska-Kearney back on December 12 in Hays. Southwest Baptist (6-4 overall, 2-3 MIAA) had too much offensively, despite turning the ball over 18 times, as it shot 54 percent from the field, 54.5 percent beyond the 3-point line, and 84.6 percent at the free-throw line.

Whistled for seven fouls in the first quarter, FHSU found itself in foul trouble early as Nikola Kacperska had three and Beth Bohuslavsky had two. SBU scored 27 first quarter points, but FHSU was able to nearly match the pace with 22.

Three-point shooting was critical to FHSU staying in the game early as both Jill Faxon and Chelsea Mason went 4-of-5 from deep in the first half. Each had 14 points at the break. FHSU trailed by just four, 43-39, at halftime.

Out of the break, Jill Faxon hit one of two free-throws and then buried a 3-point field goal to tie the game 43-43, but SBU responded with a 6-0 run to get its cushion back. A six-point lead is what SBU took into the fourth quarter.

With just over five minutes to play, FHSU trailed by five and Taylor Chandler made a nice cut to the basket on an in-bounds play. As she caught the in-bounds pass streaking to the basket, a Bearcat slid in front of her as she was going up for the layup off the catch. She tried to avoid the contact mid-air but was called for an offensive foul though she had no time to adjust to the defense. SBU went to the other end and got a 3-point play, bowling over Chandler (and Elle Stein together) on the baseline to get it, extending the lead to eight. That was a key moment in the game in what could have potentially been just a three point lead for SBU if the call would have gone FHSU’s way on the other end.

Though the Tigers cut the lead down to four points with 1:11 to play, Chandler was whistled for a touch foul about 30 feet from the basket as FHSU was not looking to foul just yet. That pushed Chandler over the edge as she said just enough to get a technical foul. It was the cap to a frustrating day for top-ranked FHSU. SBU hit all four free-throws, pushed the lead back to eight, and went on to win by 11.

Fort Hays State relied on perimeter shooting throughout the game to stay close. FHSU went 10-of-25 beyond the 3-point line (40 percent) despite shooting just 34.8 percent overall. Faxon finished with 23 points, hitting six 3-point field goals. Mason finished with four 3-point field goals, all in the first half, and 16 points overall, scoring just two after halftime. Bohuslavsky finished with 11 points. Chandler and Faxon led FHSU in rebounding, each with seven.

The Bearcats had five players score in double figures, led by Dilonna Johnson with 19. Mackenzie Skupa had 17, Megan Rosenbohm had 15, and Caylee Richardson and Alex Botkin each had 10.

Fort Hays State, now 10-1 overall and 4-1 in the MIAA, looks to regroup from the setback over a two-week holiday break. FHSU returns to the court on Saturday, January 2 at home against Pittsburg State at 2 pm.

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