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Good second half fuels win for Tiger women

By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

The officials called the second half much differently than the first half in Saturday's contest between Missouri Southern State University and Fort Hays State University. The teams combined for nine first-half free throws, seven from the Tigers. The squads had 40 after the intermission, including 23 from FHSU.

In addition, the Tigers changed their play some after the break, especially on the offensive glass, and added key hustle plays from freshman point guard Beth Bohuslavsky and sophomore Keriann Shaw.

The differences helped Fort Hays collect a 62-55 victory at Gross Memorial Coliseum. FHSU led from the 15-minute, 46-second mark of the first half, but never by more than 10 points.

"I thought the game was played about the same both halves by both teams," coach Tony Hobson said. "... It's hard for kids to adjust to that when the calls are different. It wasn't one way, it was both. I thought it was a lot tighter game called the second half."

Fort Hays, receiving votes in the top 25 poll, moved to 14-5, 6-5 MIAA and has won the first two contests of a four-game homestand. Missouri Southern dropped to 10-9, 4-7 MIAA and bumped its losing streak to six games. The Lions, traditionally known for their toughness and fast-paced play, returned just two players from last season's team. Sophomore Nicole Hartzog led the Lions with 13 points.

"They are a tough team to play," Hobson said. "They don't have one great 3-point shooter, but they have four or five of them that can make them, so those are almost harder to defend than a team that has two really good ones."

On Wednesday, Shaw took a bad fall early in the home victory against University of Central Oklahoma. She played 21 minutes and finished with no rebounds.

Usually a strong rebounder, it was Shaw's first contest without a rebound since Jan. 18, 2012 against Emporia State University. Hobson said he had never seen someone "who was more disappointed in her play" than Shaw.

"She went for a loose ball early in the game last game and got dinged and hit her head on the floor and there was a big pileup, and it affected her a little bit," Hobson said. "She didn't say anything, but we saw it on film and she said, 'I should have said something probably.'"

Shaw had a different mindset Saturday and finished with six points, four rebounds (three offensive) and four assists. All three offensive rebounds came in the second half. FHSU had nine second-half offensive rebounds, just one before the break.

"You have to get a little more tougher," Bohuslavsky said. "They are really big and aggressive and we haven't really seen that much pressure in a game. We get it in practice all the time, but in the game, we have never been able to see that pressure."

Early in the second half, Shaw grabbed an offensive rebound off her own missed shot, a play that led to a basket from junior Katelyn Edwards and a 33-26 lead. Edwards and sophomore center Kate Lehman tied for the team-high with 14 points.

A few minutes later, Shaw missed a shot and again grabbed her own rebound. Junior Tera Ingalsbe eventually tallied a conventional 3-point play on the possession.

"There is a reason she is in there," Hobson said of Shaw. "It's not because she is smooth or a real flashy player. She outworks people."

FHSU pushed the lead to 46-36 when Edwards grabbed an offensive rebound after an Ingalsbe missed free throw. Senior point guard Kaiameka Brown made a trey after the rebound. Brown, who missed Wednesday's contest with an injury, didn't start, but played 18 minutes.

Bohuslavsky started for the second straight contest and collected five points, all from the foul line, and three steals. She was 5 of 8 from the foul line; six of the free throws came in the second half.

"I just have to fill the role in," Bohuslavsky said. "Somebody got hurt, so I just have to step up."

Missouri Southern closed the game to 59-55 with 1:28 to play. Bohuslavsky missed a jumper, but grabbed her own offensive rebound, a play Hobson labeled "a game-winner." Edwards finished the possession with a layup. Fort Hays will play host to Northwest Missouri State University on Wednesday.

"Every time you are on the court, you have to hustle, because you don't know when that could be your last time playing," Bohuslavsky said. "Luckily, I was at the right spot at the right time."