Fort Hays State plays its final game in the month of January on Saturday (Jan. 30) at Nebraska-Kearney. The No. 7 ranked Tigers enter at 17-2 overall and 11-2 in the MIAA while the Lopers are 10-9 overall and 6-7 in the MIAA.
Fort Hays State is now even in the loss column of the MIAA standings with No. 6 ranked Missouri Western. The Griffons took their second loss of the season at Pittsburg State on Wednesday night. MWSU has one more game played than FHSU, sitting at 12-2 in the conference. The Griffons close out their week at Missouri Southern on Saturday.
If the Tigers want to stay on pace with the Griffons, they’ll have to get past a Nebraska-Kearney squad that took them to overtime earlier this year in Hays. Chelsea Mason hit a pair of free-throws in the waning seconds of the game to force the extra period and FHSU went on to win 82-75. FHSU struggled a bit in that game to contain UNK’s offensive sets as point guard Alexa Hogberg dished out nine assists for the Lopers. However, FHSU still forced UNK into 20 turnovers and Mason led the Tigers in scoring with 24 points.
FHSU is coming off a 61-46 win over Northwest Missouri State last Saturday, the seventh game in which the Tigers held an opponent under 50 points this year. The Tigers have four players averaging double figures in scoring, led by Mason at 13.5 points per game. Jill Faxon averages 12.6 per game, Paige Lunsford averages 10.7, and Beth Bohuslavsky adds 10.5 per game. Five of the top six scorers on the team have at least 30 steals on the season, led by Nikola Kacperska with 38.
Nebraska-Kearney has been enjoying a week of rest just like the Tigers. The Lopers upset then No. 5 Missouri Western last Saturday by six points, knocking them from the list of remaining unbeaten teams in NCAA Division II. Laramey Becker leads the Loper scoring effort at 16.9 points per game.