FHSU women snap 3-game skid with win against Baptist
By CONOR NICHOLL
At the 15 minute, 14 second mark of the first half, the Fort Hays State University women's basketball team was tied at seven with Southwest Baptist (Mo.) University. Coach Tony Hobson made his first substitution when he brought in sophomore guard Keriann Shaw and freshman guard Beth Bohuslavsky.
The Tigers immediately went on a 6-0 run.
"They are smart players. They are winners," Hobson said. "They give us a heck of a spark."
In the next few minutes, Hobson also brought in junior forward Tera Ingalsbe and senior guard Traci Keyser. The quartet delivered solid games and helped FHSU take a 17-point lead at halftime, withstand a late SBU rally and pick up a much-needed 64-55 victory on Wednesday night at Gross Memorial Coliseum.
"We just need to get a win," Hobson said. "We played great the first half. I thought our defensive intensity was excellent."
Fort Hays, ranked No. 21 in NCAA Division II in the latest poll released Tuesday, improved to 11-3, 3-3 MIAA and ended a three-game losing streak. The Bearcats dropped to 6-9, 1-6 MIAA.
"It was very important," Bohuslavsky said. "We wanted to get a tally in the win mark. We've had a sour feeling once you get losses. It was a very big win. Girls responded good. It wasn't pretty in the second half. But we came home with a W, so you can't be mad at that."
Bohuslavsky and Shaw, known for their steady play, contributed immediately. Shortly after they subbed in, Bohuslavsky collected a backcourt steal that led to a pair of free throws. SBU never tied the score again.
Then Shaw forced a steal. FHSU bumped the lead to 11-7 when Bohuslavsky recorded her second steal, a play that led to a layup from sophomore center Kate Lehman.
Bohuslavsky finished with four points and one assist against one turnover and three steals, tying her career high. Shaw collected nine points, seven rebounds, three steals and two assists with zero turnovers in just 18 minutes.
"They are just very consistent," Hobson said. "I kind of know what I am going to get out of those two. They are great people to bring off the bench."
Bohuslavsky and Shaw helped FHSU force 14 first-half turnovers. SBU focused on double-teaming Lehman in the post, so Fort Hays received offense from other sources. Junior Katelyn Edwards led FHSU with 11 points, while Lehman had nine on just eight shots, her second-lowest in an MIAA game this year.
Ingalsbe collected eight points and seven rebounds in 15 minutes and had no pain from when she hurt her knee last Thursday in a home loss to Washburn University.
"We got a great lift from Tera," Hobson said. "It wasn't a consideration. I asked her today. No big deal. I am ready to go. It never even crossed my mind. I forgot that she had even been hurt. She played well."
Ingalsbe, one of the conference's most efficient shooters, has shot 57 percent from the field, 90 percent from the foul line and 4 of 8 on treys this winter.
"She is so reliable around the basket," Hobson said of the first-year transfer from Cloud County Community College. "She has got great hands. She doesn't really ever miss any finishes she should make. She is good to have in the game late, because she is a good free throw shooter."
Keyser, a four-year player and top eight in Fort Hays annals in made free throws, 3-point field goals made and 3-point field goals attempted, has struggled in the last month. She tallied all seven of her points in her first three minutes in the contest, including her first made trey since Dec. 15. Hobson called Keyser's performance "a burden" lifted off her.
"It's not a matter of if Traci is ever going to get back and do well," Hobson said. "It's just when. Tonight, you could just see her. She hit a shot, made a good reverse layup, she hit a 3. You could just her spirits were just lifted."
After intermission, Southwest Baptist, led by 17 points from senior Brittney Dukes, closed the game to five points late. But Edwards and Shaw made four free throws in the final 22 seconds to secure the victory. FHSU will travel to Pittsburg State University on Saturday.
"That's what I think kind of put us off to a slow start in the second half," Hobson said. "We didn't quite have that sense of urgency, that edge that we played with in the first half, and all of a sudden, they were getting a little better look and they didn't get those looks in the first half.
"It doesn't just happen by accident," he added. "They don't all of a sudden get way way better. I think we let up defensively and then got frustrated on offense."