FHSU Sports Information Department
HAYS, Kan. – After trading the lead with Midland University in the first half, the Fort Hays State women’s basketball team used a strong third quarter to run away with an 84-55 victory over the Warriors Monday night inside Gross Memorial Coliseum. It was the 10th victory for the Tigers this season (10-2), giving them double-digit wins in 12 or fewer games for the sixth straight season. The game was an exhibition for Midland, who play in the NAIA.
It the first meeting between the schools since 1989, Fort Hays State picked up its first-ever victory against Midland (formerly Midland Lutheran). The Tigers are now 1-5 all-time against the program from Fremont, Neb.
After both teams missed on three-point attempts to open the game, Jill Faxon drove the lane and made a layup to score the first points of the contest 47 seconds in, giving the senior 1,001 career points. The Beatrice, Neb. native is now the 18th member of the 1,000-point club at FHSU. The guard finished with 11 points and six rebounds, her sixth double-digit effort this year.
The Tigers added five of the next seven points to take a 7-2 lead early on, leading by five on three occasions in the first period. But a three-pointer from Maddie Meadows sparked an 11-0 run for the Warriors spanning the final two minutes of the first quarter and the first two minutes of the second quarter. The teams traded blows over the next three minutes, matching shot-for-shot.
Trailing 23-18 at the midway point in the half, the Tigers used a 10-0 run to flip the five-point advantage to their favor. After the Tigers made four straight free throws to cut the lead to one, Sarah Pimentel knocked the ball away as the Warriors were moving the ball up the floor. The senior hustled to save the ball from going out of bounds in the backcourt, firing a perfect pass to Madison Mittie in the paint. The freshman laid in an uncontested layup to give the Tigers the lead once and for all. Layups from Tatyana Legette and Faxon completed the 10-point run.
However, the Warriors went on another small run to tie the game at 29 with just over one minute remaining in the first half. It was the final tie of the night, with the Tigers scoring the final four points of the half to take a 33-29 lead at the break.
Fort Hays State established a more aggressive tone coming out of the locker room, forcing eight turnovers with the use of the full court press. The Tigers also picked things up on offense, dropping in 11-of-23 shots in the quarter after making just 12 field goals in the first half.
The one thing the Tigers struggled with was the three-pointer, failing to connect with a long-range attempt in the first three periods. The Tigers were in danger of not making a three-pointer for the first time since 2013 (0-12, at Washburn, 2/23/13) after missing their first 19 attempts from behind the arc. However, the 20th try was the charm for FHSU, as Nikola Kacperska swished a triple on the first Tiger attempt in the final quarter. Later in the frame a corner three from Mittie propelled the Black and Gold to a 9-0 run, stretching the lead to a game-high 32 points, 78-46, on another Mittie layup. A free throw from Belle Barbieri with 9.8 seconds on the clock changed the scoreboard for the last time.
Pimentel broke or tied five career-highs on the night, sinking all three of her attempts from the field for nine points while adding five rebounds. The senior was even more impressive on defense, making four steals while batting away numerous other passes. Legette recorded her third double-double of the season in the win, leading the way with 12 points and 10 rebounds to go along with two assists and one block. Taylor Chandler (10 points) and Kacey Kennett (11 points) also reached double figures for the Tigers.
Fort Hays State dominated on the boards, grabbing 51 rebounds to Midland’s 30. The Tigers scored 48 of their points in the paint and another 24 off turnovers. Overall, FHSU shot 42.5 percent from the field (31-of-73) while holding the Warriors to a 35.3 shooting percentage (18-51). Neither team found success from behind the arc, finishing a combined 6-of-45 from deep (13.3 percent).
The Warriors were led offensively by Joelle Overkamp’s 16 points, all of which came in the first half. Megan Kucks grabbed six rebounds and dished out six assists for the visitors.
The Tigers will return from their holiday break on New Year’s Eve when they host Kansas Christian. First tip is set for 2 p.m.