KEARNEY, Neb. – Nebraska-Kearney turned in a great effort on Saturday (Jan. 30) evening, but No. 7 Fort Hays State fought off the upset-minded Lopers time-and-time again to win in thrilling fashion. With four seconds remaining, Beth Bohuslavsky found a lane to the basket off a pass fromPaige Lunsford and drained the game-winning shot to lift FHSU 82-81 in overtime.
Fort Hays State, now 18-2 overall and 12-2 in the MIAA, knocked off Nebraska-Kearney in overtime for the second time this year. The Tigers defeated the Lopers earlier this year 82-75 in Hays in an extra period. UNK moved to 10-10 overall and 6-8 in the MIAA with the loss, while FHSU ran its win streak over the Lopers to 12 games.
Fort Hays State had to dig deep late just to get to overtime, but a technical foul called against UNK with 1:23 to go in regulation changed the landscape of the game. UNK was up by four at the time of the technical, but Nikola Kacperska sunk both free-throws, then drained a 3-point field goal when FHSU got the ball back. It was a five-point swing all within a matter of 14 seconds that put FHSU up by one, 69-68. It capped a 7-0 run by the Tigers.
Both teams traded blows with consecutive layups and then FHSU got the defensive stop it needed, forcing a turnover with just under 30 seconds to go. Eventually, Jill Faxon went to the free-throw line with 17 seconds remaining and hit 1-of-2 attempts to give FHSU a 72-70 lead. UNK missed a 3-point attempt with under 10 seconds to go but got an offensive rebound. That set up a final play where UNK missed a running layup, but the ball found the lap of Bri Starks and she put a stick-back in from the lane with 0.2 seconds to go, forcing overtime.
UNK was in a good position once again holding a four-point lead with just over a minute and a half remaining in overtime. But Beth Bohuslavsky started to show her late-game grit once again, hitting a shot on the ensuing possession to pull the Tigers within two. After UNK hit 1-of-2 free-throws, Bohuslavsky found her way to the rim and cut the lead to just one with about 45 seconds to play. FHSU forced a turnover, then took a timeout with seven seconds left to set up a final play.
Bohuslavsky in-bounded the ball to Paige Lunsford, who was double teamed out above the arc, but she found a cutting Bohuslavsky without a defender slashing from the left wing and she got all the way to the basket for the game-winning layup. UNK tried to heave the ball down court, but it was knocked away. Bohuslavsky scored the final six points of the game for FHSU.
Both UNK and FHSU shot the ball well overall. The Lopers finished at 48.4 percent and the Tigers hit at a 44.1 percent clip. FHSU shot 45.8 percent from beyond the 3-point line (11-of-24) while the Lopers shot 50 percent from deep (10-of-20). UNK did a good job limiting its turnovers against the best turnover margin team in the nation with just 15 while forcing the Tigers into 10.
Paige Lunsford had a great night shooting the ball, going 8-of-10 from the field, including a 2-of-3 effort beyond the 3-point line. She went a perfect 4-of-4 at the free-throw line. She tied her career high of 22 points while adding five assists. Faxon was also solid with 16 points, going 6-of-10 from the field, which included three 3-point field goals. Bohuslavsky had a near double-double of 13 points and nine assists while Chelsea Mason finished with 11 points.
Alexa Hogberg had the hot hand for UNK with 21 points, while adding six assists. Laramey Becker reached double figures in scoring as well with 10.
FHSU returns home for a pair of games at Gross Memorial Coliseum next week. The Tigers host Central Missouri on Thursday (Feb. 4) and Southwest Baptist on Saturday (Feb. 6).