Officially, there isn't an award for most improved MIAA basketball player. 

But if there was, Fort Hays State's Whitney Randall would definitely be a frontrunner. 

The sophomore has been a spark off the bench for the No. 4-ranked and 13-0 Tigers, putting up 8.9 points per game after averaging 2.7 a year ago as a freshman. 

"She has been just a real welcome sight this year," FHSU coach Tony Hobson said. "You can just see her getting more confident every time out."

Randall is in the middle of her best stretch as a Tiger, reaching double figures in five of the last six games prior to Thursday's 5:30 p.m. matchup against Northeastern State. 

Randall credits her development to the example set by FHSU senior forward Tatyana Legette. 

"That's definitely just learning from Tatyana," she said. "She is a great player and I hope to be half the player she is. She's so aggressive and she has so much confidence. Just learning from her the last year and a half has really helped my game a lot."

Randall is averaging 18.4 minutes of playing time this season, up from 11.2 minutes a game last year. 

 "I think the thing she was lacking the most was just the opportunity," Hobson said. "Last year it just didn't present itself as much because we had Emma Stroyan, we had T (Legette), we had Belle (Barbieri); we had a little more depth in the post. With the graduation of Emma, it opened up a little more time for her, and she's taken advantage of it."

Like several other players on the Tigers' roster, Randall was a part of a tradition-rich high school program, winning three straight championships at Alva (Okla.) High School.

"Definitely the biggest adjustment is how strong everyone is," Randall said in getting acclimated to the college game. "Getting in the weight room, that's definitely a big part of transitioning from high school to college in any sport — basketball, softball, any sport. 

"And just giving it my all every single day; in high school you don't have to do that as much."

Randall is coming of a 15-point outing in the Tigers' 92-67 win over Southwest Baptist on Saturday, matching her career high. 

"She can score in a variety of ways," Hobson said. "She really is athletic, good rebounder; plays with a lot enthusiasm."

"Being on a team that we all know our roles, whether you're in the game the whole time or on the bench, I just love being a part of this team and I love any role that I need to fill," Randall said. 

Randall and the Tigers will look to continue their best start in program history against NSU, which enters 3-10 overall and 0-4 in the MIAA.