WBB fights through slow start to win against UCO


Tiger Media Network

Fort Hays State women’s basketball once again found themselves facing a first-quarter deficit at home on Saturday, but as they’ve done before, the Tigers found their footing and were able to come away with a win.

While FHSU’s offense struggled in the first 10 minutes, the University of Central Oklahoma Bronchos knocked down five out of six 3-pointers en route to a 21-10 lead by the end of the period. The Tigers chipped away and got within two at halftime, then went on a 15-0 run with 5:41 left in the third quarter and stayed in control for the rest of the game to win 76-64.

“(UCO) made some really good shots early in the game,” FHSU Head Coach Talia Kahrs said. “We did a good job of keeping our composure, getting stops and trying to figure out how to guard them.”

The matchup was the third home game in a row where FHSU (18-5, 12-5) trailed early but won, the other two being against Emporia two weeks ago and Newman on Thursday.

“It seems like everybody kind of comes out pretty hot against us,” junior Megan Earney said. “We just had to stick to our game plan and do what we do best. We can’t control some of those hard, tough shots that go in, so we just play our game.”

The Tigers found their rhythm by getting the ball to the basket and scoring 40 points in the paint.

“We were trying to go high-low, post-to-post,” junior Katie Wagner said. “It was more open tonight, they were just being really physical. So it was just about being physical back, making sure we could see (the post’s) numbers before throwing it in and making strong moves to the rim instead of fading away.”

Similarly, Kahrs gave credit to her team’s rebounding in the second half. FHSU outrebounded the Bronchos (5-18, 4-13) 43-31 for the game, 12-4 in the third quarter and 12-0 in the fourth.

“I thought every time the ball went in the air that we had about three of us that had an opportunity to get it,” Kahrs said. “That was huge and definitely the difference in the game.”

Wagner and Earney led the Tigers in scoring, Wagner with a game-high 24 points. She went 8-10 from the free throw line and also pulled down 13 rebounds for her 10th double-double of the season. Earney finished with 14 points, going 4-9 from the 3-point line. Emma Ruddle also finished in double figures with 11 points, and Jessie Sallach nearly had a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds.

UCO was led by Alena Wilson and Natalie Stice who each had 16 points. Reagan Fox was the only other Broncho in double-figure scoring with 12 points and going 4-4 from the free throw line.

With five games left before the MIAA tournament, the Tigers travel to Missouri for two road games next week before finishing the regular season at home. 

“We just have to come out every game ready with a lot of energy and a lot of enthusiasm,” Kahrs said. “We know people are going to make shots, and people especially like to make shots here, but just continuing to overcome those times when they make shots and things aren’t going our way. We’ve got to just keep our composure and keep our head in the game.”

FHSU’s first matchup back at home is against Pittsburg State on Feb. 22. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m.