Tiger women open season with win
By CONOR NICHOLL
On Nov. 1, Fort Hays State University senior point guard Kaiameka Brown hyper-extended her knee late in the season-opening exhibition contest at Kansas State University. Brown missed the exhibition at University of Kansas last Sunday and didn't practice earlier this week.
"By the time Thursday and Friday hit, it started to get better," Brown said.
Brown, a key reserve last season, was expected to start this winter.
Coach Tony Hobson talked with the trainer and the team was going to allow Brown to play in the season opener Saturday. As well, Brown's family was coming from California, one of the few times they've seen her play.
"When you are a senior, you have one home opener, you have one senior year," Hobson said.
Brown ran the offense effectively in the first half and helped Fort Hays deliver a 78-37 victory against McPherson College at Gross Memorial Coliseum.
Brown played 15 minutes and finished with four points, three assists and zero turnovers, part of a three-player group at point guard. For the past two seasons, Fort Hays had Crista Bechard running point, a two-time all-MIAA honorable mention selection.
"I just hoped and prayed that I would be able to play," Brown said. "It worked out well."
Freshman Taylor Chandler collected seven points, four steals and four turnovers in 15 minutes, while freshman Beth Bohuslavsky had two points, three rebounds and four assists in 20 minutes.
"Right now, we will play Kai at the point and at the wing," Hobson said. "We will play Beth probably exclusively at the point. Probably play Taylor a lot - we want her guarding their point guard, maybe running the wing on offense. We will just have to mix and match a little bit there, just until we figure things out. There is enough room for two of them on the floor all the time."
Sophomore center Kate Lehman finished with a game-high 19 points and nine blocks and also collected seven rebounds. Junior forward Katelyn Edwards tallied a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
"I was happy for our first outing," Hobson said.
Fort Hays had 17 steals; they exceeded that total once last season. The Tigers outscored McPherson 29-6 off turnovers and continually pushed the ball and played uptempo. FHSU never trailed, led 24-4 with 7 minutes, 46 seconds in the first half and 32-11 at the break.
"We have a lot more agile players that can get up and down the court and it works well for us," Brown said.
The Tigers shot just 45 percent from the field and had some inconsistencies versus McPherson's zone defense. However, Hobson said that was his fault. Hobson expected to see some zone, but hadn't put in a zone offense yet and wasn't going to for Saturday.
"If we looked a little stagnant offensively, that's why," Hobson said. "When we ran our man stuff, we were fairly sharp. We got layups and so I was happy that the kids didn't try to force things, and we really moved the ball well and shared the ball well and I was happy with that."
Hobson was planning on sitting Brown all second half, but let her play five minutes after the break before she left the game with 14:45 left.
"I think she is probably 80-85 percent," Hobson said. "You could tell probably a little bit defensively she wasn't quite as quick, maybe a little tentative."
Hobson also announced that sophomore guard Logan Antenen, a reserve last season who saw time in 14 of 29 contests, will redshirt the year because of lingering knee issues.
Antenen will have surgery on one knee in mid-December and three weeks later, she'll will have surgery on the other one.
Fort Hays will be at home Tuesday against Bethany College. Game time is 5:30 p.m.