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Tiger women roll to victory

By CONOR NICHOLL
cnicholl@dailynews.net

Fort Hays State University sophomore guard Taylor Chandler, a starter all season and the team leader with 29 steals, suffered a knee injury in practice Tuesday.

“One of the girls fell on it, and it just went back,” Chandler said.

During the day Thursday, Chandler had an MRI on her knee. That night, she missed the first contest in her Tiger career and was on crutches following a 64-39 non-conference victory against South Dakota School of Mines at Gross Memorial Coliseum. She is expected to miss a few weeks.

She was scheduled to find out Friday morning whether she will miss the season. It’s uncertain whether Chandler has a sprain or something more serious.

“It was kind of hard just sitting there watching the girls play,” Chandler said. “I wanted to be on the court. It’s kind of hard to keep it all together.”

Junior Keriann Shaw started in Chandler’s place as the Tigers completed their non-conference schedule with a 7-0 record.

In addition to Chandler, sophomore guard Logan Antenen, who hasn’t played since 2011-12 because of knee issues, was on crutches again Thursday. Coach Tony Hobson said Antenen’s first surgery “didn’t work.”

“Went in and cleaned it up again,” Hobson said.

FHSU, ranked No. 24 in NCAA Division II, hasn’t lost a non-conference contest since a 66-52 loss at Newman University on Nov. 23, 2010. The Tigers moved to 13-3, while Mines dropped to 6-12.

Fort Hays never trailed and jumped out to a 16-1 lead in the first 10 minutes. FHSU was 0 of 11 from long range at intermission and 4 of 22 for the game.

“Considering the circumstances, it was OK,” Hobson said. “It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t real sharp either. We had to change up a few things without Taylor in there defensively, so we were trying some variations."

Starting Saturday, the next eight days will likely determine FHSU’s season. The Tigers play at Pittsburg State University, which is receiving votes in the national poll, on Saturday. Then FHSU plays host to Emporia State University, No. 2 nationally, at home next Thursday and Washburn University the following Saturday.

“Our kids, right now, are ready to get after some of the teams in the conference,” Hobson said. “You don’t want to overlook a game like this, but the tendency is to do that. We probably did a little bit tonight.”

FHSU led 32-15 at halftime and limited Mines, a struggling offensive team all season, to 23 percent shooting. Junior center Kate Lehman paced the Tigers with 14 points and freshman Megan Rohrer led the Hardrockers with 15 points.

Shaw, in her 74th career contest and 16th career start, finished with six points and four rebounds in 24 minutes. Sophomore Alyssa Palmer, a strong 3-point shooter in limited time, tied her career high with six points off two treys. Her 16 minutes set a career high.

“Alyssa Palmer had a great game,” senior Katelyn Edwards said.

Chandler’s biggest impact came with her defense and ability to create turnovers. She also paced the Tigers with 50 steals as a freshman and often came up with big plays at key times. Edwards said the team “was really disappointed” when Chandler first suffered the injury.

“We kind of talked in the locker room, even though we aren’t going to be as good of a team without Taylor — because she does so much for us, she is kind of the spark that we need every now and then — there can be people who do step up, and I think that we will have that,” Edwards said.

The 5-foot-10 Shaw is five inches taller than Chandler.

“If Taylor is not able to go, Shaw gives us another good defender on the perimeter,” Hobson said. “She is not as good in the full court on-ball. That’s where we miss Taylor. She is a one-man press. Sometimes, if we don’t want to press and trap, we have Taylor take the ball, and it’s like a semi press every time.”

Shaw, who has just 23 points this season, set her season high for points. She has 46 rebounds and averages 16 minutes per game. Chandler has 40 rebounds and averages 23 minutes a contest.

“But in the half court and rebounding-wise, Keriann gives you as much or more,” Hobson said. “But in the full court, not the same thing. We are lucky that we have some depth, and maybe we can cover up that spot for awhile.”

Fort Hays 64, S.D. Mines 39
SOUTH DAKOTA MINES (6-12)
Devyn Asche 5-13 0-0 10, Megan Rohrer 3-12 6-6 15, Shull 2-7 0-0 4, Long 1-6 0-0 3, Waters 0-2 1-2 1, Needens 0-2 0-0 0, Huggins 0-2 3-4 3, Kenney 1-8 0-0 2, Showalter 0-0 1-2 1. Totals — 12-52 11-14 39.
FORT HAYS (13-3)
Kate Lehman 4-7 6-9 14, Jill Faxon 2-9 5-6 10, Edwards 4-10 1-1 9, Mason 3-8 0-0 6, Shawn 3-9 0-0 6, Bohuslavsky 1-5 1-4 4, Kacperska 2-4 2-2 6, Palmer 2-7 0-0 6, Lunsford 1-6 0-0 2, Ingalsbe 0-4 1-2 1, Pimentel 0-1 0-0 0. Totals — 22-70 16-24 64.
S.D. Mines    15 24 — 39
Fort Hays    32 32 — 64
3-point goals — S.D Mines 4-19 (Asche 0-3, Shull 0-2, Long 1-3, Watesr 0-1, Rohrer 3-6, Huggins 0-1, Kenney 0-3); FHSU 4-22 (Mason 0-2, Bohuslavsky 1-3, Faxon 1-5, Kacperska 0-1, Palmer 2-6, Lunsford 0-4, Ingalsbe 0-1). Assists — SD 7 (Huggins 3); FHSU 13 (Bohuslavsky 4. Steals — SD 3 (Three with 1); FHSU 13 (Edwards 5). Blocks — SD 5 (Asche 3); FHSU 7 (Lehman 6). Total fouls — SD 21, FHSU 13. Fouled out — Kenney, SD.
Rebounds — SD 38 (Asche 10); FHSU 56 (Edwards 10). Turnovers — SD 16, FHSU 9. A — 1,478