Wagner’s double-double paces FHSU to win


LAKEWOOD, Colo. – The Fort Hays State women’s basketball team improved to 3-0 overall after defeating Colorado Mesa 65-62 on Sunday (Nov. 19). The win for the Tigers was highlighted by a 24-point, 10-rebound double-double from Katie Wagner. Three other Tigers also finished in double figures to help secure the victory.

The Mavericks came out strong on Sunday with two 3-pointers in the first 1:17 of the game. Fort Hays State found themselves in a hole, trailing 15-6 at the first timeout. The Tigers outscored Mesa 8-4 to close the first quarter, shrinking the gap to five points at 19-14. Olivia Hollenbeck led the scoring attack in the opening period with six points off two layups and two free throws.

Katie Wagner came alive in the second quarter with two quick buckets. The Tigers continued to pound the ball inside and were able to tie the game at 22-22 with 6:12 left to go in the second.

Colorado Mesa shot it at a 44.4 percent clip (4-of-9) from behind the 3-point line in the first half making it hard for FHSU to grab a lead, but the Tigers finally did with 3:41 to go in the half. From there, the lead was stretch to five for FHSU after five-straight points from Jessie Sallach. Both teams would exchange jabs to end the first half, but the Tigers went into the break with a 31-28 lead.

FHSU scored its most points on the day in the third quarter (22). The offense posted a 64.3 field percentage (9-of-14) in that frame, including seven points from Wagner and six from Sydney Golladay.

Down the stretch in the final quarter Emma Ruddle hit a shot to stretch the Tiger lead to eight, 62-54, but CMU would score six unanswered to increase the tension. After a few missed free throws and multiple defensive stands, there was a just a total of five points scored in the final 2:45.

Despite shooting 9-of-15 from the free throw line as a team, Ellie Stearns stepped up to the line and netted the front end of a two-shot foul to make it a three point advantage for FHSU with 0:33 seconds left. Stearns would deliver again moments later when the Mavericks attempted to hoist the game-tying shot. Stearns was able to cleanly get her hand on the shot, misdirecting it straight up into the air during the closing second.

Hollenbeck finished with 12 points, while Golladay and Sallach both added 10. Wagner finished a perfect 5-for-5 at the free throw line on her way to a game-high 24 points. Golladay led the distributing efforts with four assists.

The Tigers will take the court again on Monday (Nov. 20) against MSU-Denver at the Auraria Event Center. The game is set to tip at 3 p.m. CT/2 p.m. MT