Tiger women snap losing skid
By CONOR NICHOLL
The Fort Hays State University women's basketball team had dropped three games in a row. The skid tumbled FHSU out of the NCAA Division II top 25, and virtually eliminated any chance at an NCAA Tournament at-large berth or top-four seed and first-round bye to the MIAA conference tournament.
Still, the Tigers, with three regular season contests left, responded with an 81-53 victory against rival University of Nebraska-Kearney on Saturday at Gross Memorial Coliseum. FHSU never trailed, had a 41-26 lead at intermission and cruised to its seventh straight win in the series.
"A good team will bounce back from three losses, or we could have been the type of team that just said, 'Hey, let's just put it away, and call it quits,' " Tiger sophomore point guard Beth Bohuslavsky said. "But we are competitors. We want to win every game. We felt like we needed to get on the right track. This was a good opportunity for us to do it."
FHSU, still receiving votes nationally, bumped to 17-7, 10-7 MIAA, while UNK dropped to 8-16, 4-13 MIAA.
Junior center Kate Lehman finished with 26 points, 12 rebounds and nine blocks for FHSU. Lehman already has one triple-double this winter and Saturday marked the third time she was one block short. She was also one block short in a 33-point, 13-rebound performance in an 85-67 win against the Lopers on Feb. 5.
"Sometimes you have to try to put that behind you and just put your blinders on and just move ahead," Tiger coach Tony Hobson said. "We did a good job of doing that tonight. There is nothing better to get rid of frustration than to get a chance to play again."
FHSU shot 39 percent from the field, but carried a plus-17 edge on the glass and a plus-20 edge in free throws attempted. Fort Hays had struggled recently with entry passes to Lehman, especially in a loss at Washburn University on Wednesday.
"We passed the ball great in the open floor, got some good looks off the break, we did an excellent job of getting it into Kate Lehman who had a great game," Hobson said. "She needs people to get her the ball on time and on target."
In addition, the Tigers looked healthier than they had in weeks. Senior Katelyn Edwards hurt her knee in the first Kearney matchup and then missed the Emporia State contest, the first of the three losses. In the last two games combined, she collected 10 points and four rebounds. She recorded seven points and four rebounds Saturday. Hobson said Edwards can't play for nearly as long of stretches as she could prior to the injury.
"Part of the reason why we are in kind of a little stall is we are just trying to get back healthy," Hobson said. "I thought Kate Edwards looked a little notch better even tonight, and I just have to be careful. I just have to remember that her conditioning isn't where it was."
Bohuslavsky also hurt her knee and ankle in the first Kearney game. Sophomore guard Taylor Chandler has battled a knee problem; Saturday marked the fifth game since her return. The pair combined for nine points and six assists. Bohuslavsky said she has battled a "pretty bad" bone bruise and has something "moving around" in her knee, possibly tissue or cartilage. She will feel the movement every now and then.
"We have all done great with our rehab, and we are all going to hope that it lasts the rest of the season," Bohuslavsky said. "...At this point, you've just to got to play through pain."
Senior Nicole Arp led the Lopers with 19 points. FHSU will play host to University of Central Oklahoma on Saturday.
"I just liked the teamwork and bounced back and maintained our fire, or our enthusiasm," Hobson said. "Sometimes after a few games like we have had, it's hard to get back on the horse and go for a ride, but I thought we did a good job tonight."
Fort Hays 81
NEBRASKA-KEARNEY (8-16, 4-13)
Nicole Arp 8-18 0-0 19, Williams 3-14 2-2 8, Zimmerman 1-10 0-0 2, Lewis 2-5 0-0 5, Bowser 1-4 0-1 2, Seberger 2-5 0-0 4, Hix 3-7 0-0 8, Fitzgerald 0-0 3-4 3, Thomas 1-4 0-2 2. Totals -- 21-67 5-9 53.
FORT HAYS (17-7, 10-7)
Kate Lehman 8-13 10-13 26, Chelsea Mason 4-11 4-4 13, Shaw 3-5 0-0 6, Chandler 2-8 0-0 5, Bohuslavsky 2-3 0-0 4, Edwards 3-9 1-2 7, Kacperska 3-3 2-2 8, Palmer 0-3 0-0 0, Faxon 0-6 1-2 1, Lunsford 1-4 3-4 5, Ingalsbe 3-10 0-2 6. Totals -- 29-75 21-29 81.
UNK 26 27 -- 53
FHSU 41 40 -- 81
3-point goals -- UNK 6-14 (Zimmerman 0-2, Arp 3-6, Lewis 1-1, Seberger 0-1, Hix 2-4); FHSU 2-14 (Chandler 1-4, Mason 1-2, Palmer 0-3, Faxon 0-2, Lunsford 0-1, Ingaslbe 0-2). Assists -- UNK 9 (Lewis 3); FHSU 16 (Bohuslavsky 5). Steals -- UNK 5 (Lewis 3); FHSU 12 (Mason 3). Blocks -- UNK 7 (Three with 2); FHSU 14 (Lehman 9). Total fouls -- UNK 20, FHSU 13. Fouled out -- none.
Rebounds -- UNK 41 (Zimmerman 10); FHSU 68 (Shaw 10, Lehman 12). Turnovers -- UNK 19, FHSU 11. A -- 3,265.