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Tigers' Edwards earns academic honor

By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

The Fort Hays State University women's basketball team has long achieved strong grades under fifth-year coach Tony Hobson. Last year, Traci Keyser collected second-team academic All-American honors. Keyser became the sixth Academic All-American selection in Tiger women's basketball history and holds a 4.0 grade-point average in management. Last season, FHSU collectively finished with a 3.628 GPA.

"I think a lot of people don't even know, we were fourth in the country last year in grades," Hobson said. "Nobody else in the conference is in the top 25, so that's a huge difference. We always have seven or eight kids with a 4.0 out of our 15."

Last Friday, junior Katelyn Edwards was named to the CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-American District Team for NCAA Division II District 7.

"It's a great honor for Kate, but it kind of exemplifies our team and the kind of grades they get," Hobson said.

Only six individuals from District 7 in Division II are selected to the team. Edwards averages 13 points and eight rebounds, each second best, and paces the team with three assists a contest. She carries a 3.87 GPA in nursing.

"We have six kids that qualify grade-wise, maybe eight," Hobson said. "How they do is, is they take contributions to your team and combine it with grades. We had two or three that could have made it, but they are not going to put more than one on a team. She deserves it. She is a good student, and we know what kind of player she is."

Fort Hays, receiving votes in the top-25 nationally, is 14-5, 6-5 MIAA and will play host to Northwest Missouri State University on Wednesday night. The Tiger men are 13-6, 7-4. Game time is 5:30 p.m. for the women at Gross Memorial Coliseum.

Congiusta banged up

Senior guard Ben Congiusta, first in the league in minutes played at 33.7 a game, sprained his ankle late in last Wednesday's victory against UCO. On Saturday, Congiusta still played 34 minutes in the 83-69 victory against Missouri Southern State University, a contest that wasn't decided until late in the second half.

He finished 3 of 8 from the field, 2 of 7 from the 3-point line for eight points. As well, he helped hold Southern junior Marquis Addison to 14 points, four below his season average.

"He is having a hard time jumping up and shooting the basketball," coach Mark Johnson said. "That's really affecting him."

Johnson would like to give Congiusta more rest, but it's been difficult to do with the Tigers often playing close games.

"It's a long season and we have rode him pretty hard all year long," Johnson said, "Each game, we have got to get more rest, we have got to get more rest, limited minutes, and then you start playing, and all of our games are close. He is a tough kid, about as tough a kid as we have and he is fighting through it."

Nelson, Brown update

Senior guard Melissa Nelson could return after she suffered a knee injury Jan. 24 at Lindenwood (Mo.) University. Coach Tony Hobson said Nelson partially tore her medial collateral ligament and meniscus. Nelson was scheduled to have surgery today and take the meniscus out. Then, Nelson will do hard rehab for two weeks. If Nelson does return, she'll play with a brace.

"There is a chance that we could get Mel back in two or three weeks, it's possible," Hobson said.

Senior point guard Kaiameka Brown was hurt last week and missed the Jan. 30 contest versus University of Central Oklahoma. She returned in Saturday's win against Missouri Southern State University and came off the bench.

"She wasn't full speed, but she was good enough to give us some really good minutes," Hobson said. "If she doesn't reinjure it or anything, hopefully by Wednesday, she will be full bore."