BY RUSSELL HEITMANN
In a game that didn’t count, against a team playing in a higher division, the Fort Hays State University women’s basketball team still found a way to excite the confines of Allen Fieldhouse on Sunday afternoon. The Tigers and Jayhawks needed overtime to decide a winner before KU squeaked past FHSU, 90-83 in both teams’ first exhibition game of the year.
The Tigers trailed by three with six seconds left before junior guard Taylor Rolfs hit a three-pointer as time expired to send the game to extra minutes. Rolfs hit four three-point baskets on her way to 14 points, but none were bigger than her basket at the end of regulation.
FHSU hit 11 three-point shots out of 34 attempts, good for 34 percent. Tony Hobson, head coach of the Tigers recognizes the importance of the long-ball for his team this year.
“That’s one of our strong points,” Hobson said. “We will probably go ten deep, and nine of those ten are catch and shoot three-point shooters. We can get some mismatches with teams because of our size on the perimeter.”
Fellow junior Lanie Page matched Rolfs with four threes of her own on her way to 21 total points, a game high. Two of those baskets came in the third quarter when the Tigers were on the wrong end of a KU run.
Hobson said the Tigers will leave Allen Fieldhouse a better team than when they entered, and they hit some big shots and played well.
“You have to keep building and using these learning situations,” Hobson said. “[We have to go back] after we play Kansas State on Thursday and break some things down.”
He said defending ball cuts in the lane and rebounding against bigger teams were two areas the Tigers needed to improve on, as well as make some adjustments to their offensive strategy.
“I know we aren’t very quick on the perimeter, so we struggle getting open on the wing,” Hobson said. “We’re going to have to work on cutting and getting open, and we did in the second half. We played a pretty good second half.”
Belle Barbieri and Carly Heim joined Page and Rolfs in double-figures with 12 and 11 respectively while Tatyana Legette added five points and 10 rebounds. Freshman, Hailey Walker scored eight points in her unofficial Tiger debut. FHSU shot 40 percent from the field, and just 66 percent from the free-throw line.
The Tigers next play an exhibition contest against Kansas State in Manhattan on Thursday, November 1 at 7:00 p.m.
“The main thing we have to do is understand that we have one more exhibition game and then they count,” Hobson said. “So we have to make sure we get better. We just need to keep getting better and we look forward to opening up our season.”
Stay tuned to Tiger Media Network for a highlight package from today’s game, along with Coach Hobson’s full press conference.