Ingalsbe providing solid backup for Tigers
By CONOR NICHOLL
The statistics show Fort Hays State University senior forward Tera Ingalsbe averaging 14.8 minutes per game as the backup to sophomore center Kate Lehman.
However, Ingalsbe is the Tigers' fourth-leading scorer at 8.1 points per contest and arguably the MIAA's best overall shooter. She shoots 51.6 percent from the field, 47.6 percent (10 of 21) from the 3-point line and a league-best 88.1 percent from the foul line, second best in the MIAA.
"I love watching Tera," Lehman said. "I don't care at all that she comes in for me, because I just love to watch her play. She shoots so well. It helps me in practice, because having to guard that, it really helps with my footwork, like catching screens and stuff. She is just an awesome player. Personality awesome. Everything about her is just great."
Ingalsbe is so strong from the foul line she expects a swish every time. She went 4 of 4 from the line against Pittsburg State University on Jan. 19.
"I had a free throw and it hit the rim twice and coach was like, 'Tera, you missed one,' " Ingalsbe said with a smile. "I was 4 for 4. Usually they go in straight, but if I hit the rim, it is a miss in my book sometimes."
However, the statistics don't show one of Ingalsbe's best attributes: setting screens. The 6-foot-1 first-year transfer by way of Wamego and Cloud County (Kan.) Community College has opened players for multiple shots.
"She actually will screen a body, and you say, well, isn't that what a screen is," coach Tony Hobson said. "Well, no not always. Some of our screens are fly-bys. The second they get about a foot from them, then they either roll or get out of their way. They don't touch anybody. She will get somebody open. If we would all screen like that, we would have a lot better shots."
Ingalsbe's all-around game has helped Fort Hays start 13-5, 5-5 MIAA. The Tigers will play host to Missouri Southern State University (10-8, 4-6 MIAA) on Saturday at Gross Memorial Coliseum. Start time is 2 p.m. Ingalsbe's minutes have steadily increased throughout the season.
"If we can figure out how we want to defend with her and Kate Lehman we will play her more," Hobson said. "But we have been playing her more minutes and she has been responding well. She has just been playing great for us, I think."
She has logged 19 minutes the last two games, her best in conference play, and tallied 20 points and nine rebounds. FHSU, near the bottom of the league in offense in conference-only games, has started to run some offensive sets for her. While some Tigers have struggled in late-game situations, Ingalsbe has played at a high level.
"I think Tera is one of those people, I don't think pressure really affects her, and she might be one of those who thrives under it, plays as good or better than normal," Hobson said.
Ingalsbe's screening ability from playing catcher for her high school softball team and having a strong build. Her overall game has evolved in the last two years. Ingalsbe earned all-state honors at Wamego. FHSU first recruited her out of high school, but Hobson didn't believe she was big enough to play in the post.
However, he was happy when Ingalsbe didn't go to another four-year school. She played one season at Johnson County (Kan.) Community College and then last year at Cloud County where she led the team with 12.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks and led the squad in field goal percentage (55.3). At FHSU, she has played in the high post for the first time and can set the high screen for her teammates, mainly senior point guard Kaiameka Brown.
I just love when everyone gets shots for each other," Ingalsbe said. "It's so much fun playing with Kai. It's like an adrenaline rush. I have always said that when I get an assist, it's like just as much pride and joy as getting a shot off. It's just like you setting a screen, it's more pride with everything."
"Kai and I run a play at the top, she is like, 'Set it here,' I set three screens in a row," she added. "That's like the most fun thing. Coach jokes about it in practice. He is like, 'Sometimes, Tera, I think you know how to play.' "