ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – The No. 2 Fort Hays State women’s basketball team used a big third quarter to grab a road win over No. 22 Missouri Western on Saturday (Jan. 15), 74-61. The Tigers (15-1, 9-1 MIAA) hit 10-of-13 from the floor and 4-of-6 from behind the arc in the third quarter after hitting just one 3-pointer in the first half.
The Griffons (12-3, 6-3 MIAA) led for more than 12 minutes in the first half after forcing 10 Tiger turnovers before intermission. FHSU hit just 38.7 percent from the floor (12-of-31) and 50 percent from the free-throw line (4-of-8) before halftime, but the Tigers managed to take a 29-28 lead into the locker room after limiting the Griffons to 33.3 percent shooting (11-of-33).
Jessie Sallach scored six-straight points in the heart of the second quarter to help the Tigers tie things up before a free throw from Whitney Randall gave the Tigers a one-point lead at the break.
After scoring the final three points of the first half, Fort Hays State took the lead for good after scoring eight in a row at the start of the third quarter. Six of those points came from Olivia Hollenbeck, with Katie Wagner also adding a jumper from the free-throw line.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Sydney Golladay helped the Tigers stretch the run to 19-2, giving FHSU a 45-30 lead midway through the third quarter. Missouri Western called a timeout and proceeded to score the next six points before Randall scored five-straight points to push the lead back to double figures. Lauren West drilled her second 3-pointer of the game late in the frame before the Griffons hit a shot at the buzzer, closing within 65-43 with 10 minutes remaining.
Sallach got the Tigers rolling in the fourth quarter with two baskets in 14 seconds that was aided by a Randall steal. Randall added two more buckets in the frame before a layup from Hollenbeck put the Tigers in front by 20, 67-47, with 5:19 to play.
Missouri Western made one final push, going on a 14-3 run to close with nine with less than one minute to play, but the Tigers hit 4-of-4 from the free-throw line down the stretch to secure the win.
Wagner led all players with 19 points and 11 rebounds, tallying her sixth double-double of the season. Randall added 15 points and four steals, with Hollenbeck totaling 14 points and Sallach contributing 10 points and five rebounds.
The Tigers finished the game shooting 48.3 percent from the floor (29-of-60) while limiting the Griffons to a 33.8 percent shooting effort (22-of-65). Josie Weishaar was the lone Griffon in double figures, leading the team with 16 points.
The win helps Fort Hays State remain in a tie for first place in the MIAA standing with No. 16 Nebraska-Kearney. The Tigers are now 1-1 against ranked opponents this season. It is just the third time the Tigers have won consecutive road games against MWSU.
Fort Hays State will return home to host Missouri Southern on Thursday (Jan. 20) beginning at 5:30 p.m.