By FHSU SPORTS INFORMATION
DENVER – The Fort Hays State women’s basketball team moved to 4-0 to start the 2023-24 season after a 64-45 win over MSU Denver Monday afternoon (Nov. 20). The Tigers never trailed in the game for a third time this season, leading for more than 38 minutes on the day.
Emma Ruddle opened the scoring with a 3-pointer before adding four early points at the free-throw line, scoring seven of FHSU’s first 14 points. The Tigers led by as many as nine after Ruddle’s second trip to the line, 14-5, before the Roadrunners scored the final four points in the quarter to close within five, 16-11.
MSU Denver clawed within one possession twice in the second quarter, but Fort Hays State bounced back on the next trip down the floor on each occasion. The home team scored first in the period to close within three before Sydney Golladay hit a jumper to push the lead back to five. Ashlyn Yow later scored five points in 36 seconds for the Roadrunners, helping MSU Denver pull within two, 20-18. Jessie Sallach drew a foul on a drive to the basket before hitting two free throws to extend the lead to multiple possessions, where it would remain for the rest of the afternoon.
Sallach’s free throws triggered a 12-2 Tiger run over the final five-plus minutes of the second quarter, helping FHSU lead by 12 at the break, 32-20.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Katie Wagner and Ruddle to open the second half quickly ballooned the lead to 18 points, 38-20. Kate Dilsaver and Megan Earney both added triples in the third period, pushing the Tiger lead as high as 25 before FHSU led by 24 heading into the final frame, 53-29.
A 6-0 Tiger run midway through the fourth quarter gave the Tigers their largest lead of the game at 26, 64-38, before MSU Denver scored the final seven points to trim the final margin to 19.
Fort Hays State turned the ball over a season-low seven times while forcing 19 MSU Denver turnovers thanks to 10 steals. The Tigers shot 35.5 percent from the floor (22-of-62) and buried seven 3-pointers. After hitting their first 12 free throws, the Tigers finished 13-for-16 from the line (81.3 percent).
Olivia Hollenbeck racked up a team-high 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting while blocking three shots on the day. Golladay and Ruddle added 12 points each, while Wagner paced the team with four assists and nine rebounds alongside nine points.
The Tigers will finally make their home debut this Saturday (Nov. 25) when FHSU hosts Tabor College beginning at 5 p.m. inside Gross Memorial Coliseum.