WBB: No. 3 Tigers Survive No. 2 Pittsburg State 52-46 in MIAA Semifinals



For the second time in school history, and the first time since 2015, the Fort Hays State University women’s basketball team advances to the MIAA Championship. On Saturday, March 3, the No. 3 seeded Tigers completed the season sweep of their in-state rival, the No. 2 seed Pittsburg State Gorillas, with a 52-46 victory. FHSU led for the entire game and held the Gorillas to a season-low 46 points. Additionally, Fort Hays is now 27-27 all-time against Pittsburg State.

Game Recap

The Tigers took an early 7-2 lead with all seven points coming from Emma Stroyan. Nearing the end of the quarter, FHSU extended its margin to 13-4. Fort Hays led by as many as 13 points in the opening quarter and cruised to a 19-6 edge after the first period. Pittsburg State shot 3-of-16 from the field in the first quarter, including 0-of-8 from three-point range.

Midway through the second quarter, the Tigers increased the lead to 21-6, but the Gorillas answered with a 9-0 run. With three minutes until halftime, FHSU had a 23-15 advantage. Fort Hays went into halftime with a 25-18 lead.

The Gorillas trimmed the margin by forcing six second-quarter turnovers. FHSU led by as many as 15 points but shot 2-for-9 in the second quarter. Fort Hays shot 39.1% in the first half, while Pittsburg State shot 24.1%. Additionally, each team finished the half with 19 rebounds and five assists.

Stroyan led the Tigers with seven points, four blocks, and three rebounds in the first half. Lanie Page added six points, while Carly Heim had four points. Kacey Kennett added six rebounds. For the Gorillas, Maya Williams led PSU with five points, while three players had three points each.

Early in the second half, FHSU nailed back-to-back threes to take a 33-21 lead. With just under four minutes remaining in the third quarter, a burst by the Tigers gave them a sizeable 39-24 advantage. Fort Hays continued to cruise and took a dominant 42-25 advantage into the final quarter.

FHSU maintained a 17-point lead early in the final quarter. The Gorillas answered with a 6-0 run and the Tiger lead was cut to 44-33. With just over three minutes left, Pittsburg State trimmed the deficit to single-digits.

As part of a 16-4 run, the Gorillas pulled within five points with under two minutes to play. Pittsburg State didn’t come any closer than five points, and late free throws by the Tigers iced a 52-46 victory.

Fort Hays State University Women’s Basketball Head Coach Tony Hobson wasn’t surprised that the game got close in the closing minutes. “You almost expect that. You know they’re not going to lay down,” said Hobson. “I thought it was really key that we got off to a good start.”

The Tigers’ junior guard Carly Heim knew staying calm was a key to the victory. “I don’t show a lot of emotion,” said Heim. “It’s important for me to stay calm. I think I’m okay at that.”

By the Numbers

Heim guided FHSU with a game-high 15 points, while Stroyan added 12 points. Additionally, Kennett had ten rebounds. For the Gorillas, Brenlee McPherson led Pittsburg State with 13 points, while Madison Northcutt added seven points and seven rebounds.

Looking Ahead

The No. 2 seeded Tigers (25-5) will face the winner of No. 9 Lindenwood (18-12)/ No. 12 Missouri Western (13-17) in the MIAA Championship. The title match is scheduled for Sunday, March 4 at 1 PM from Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri. Meanwhile, the Gorillas end the conference tournament with a record of 23-7 on the season.

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