MANHATTAN — The Fort Hays State University women's basketball team wrapped up its preseason schedule against Kansas State University on Monday inside Bramlage Coliseum. The Tigers held serve for much of the first half, leading for more than seven minutes and trailing by just nine after the first 20 minutes of play. The Wildcats used a 19-8 advantage in the third quarter to take control, ultimately winning the exhibition contest 61-46.
The Tigers knocked down 17-of-60 from the floor, but managed to sink 7 of 22 from behind the arc. Fort Hays State held its own in the rebound department against a much taller Wildcat team with each side grabbing 41 boards. The Tigers grabbed 13 rebounds off the offensive glass, turning those boards into nine second-chance points. K-State used its size advantage to control the game under the basket on its offensive end, outscoring FHSU 34-12 in the paint. The Tiger defense crashed around the perimeter well all night, limiting K-State to 5 of 23 shooting from behind the arc.
Kacey Kennett and Taylor Rolfs each reached double figures in scoring, leading the Tigers with 10 points each. Tatyana Legette had a strong outing, grabbing 14 rebounds while adding nine points and two assists on the offensive end. Much of the K-State offense ran through Peyton Williams, who dropped in a game-high 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting.
The Tigers hung around with K-State for the duration of the first quarter, leading by as many as five early in the frame. Legette won the opening tip and the Tigers took advantage of the first possession with Carly Heim knocking down a 3-pointer from the top of the key as the shot clock expired. The Tigers extended the advantage to 7-2 when Legette drove to the basket to draw in the defense, finding an open Emma Stroyan for an open 10-foot jumper. K-State scored the next nine points to go in front 11-7, but a deep three-pointer from the top of the key from Rolfs quickly closed the gap to one.
K-State found its rhythm in the second quarter, knocking down 41.2 percent of its shots and extending its lead as far as 12. Heim dropped in a rainbow jumper from the baseline to interrupt a Wildcat run in the heart of the quarter. Belle Barbieri closed the scoring in the opening half with a layup while being fouled, sinking the ensuing free throw to make the score 30-21 as the teams left for the locker room. Barbieri nearly closed the gap to seven at the break, but the basket was waved off as the ball left her hand just after the shot clock went off.
Lindsay Shupe was all over the court on the offensive end in the first half, grabbing three offensive rebounds to go along with two points and one assist. Heim led the Tigers with five points and two assists in the opening frame, while Legette grabbed a team-high seven rebounds in the opening 20 minutes.
The teams went back and forth to open the third quarter, with the Wildcat lead hovering around 10 for the first five minutes before K-State started to pull away. Kennett knocked down a triple early in the quarter, her first bucket of the game. She added a pair of free throws two possessions later before Heim drilled a three from the right wing, keeping FHSU within ten. The Wildcats clamped down on defense over the final six minutes of the period, holding the Tigers 0-for-11 from the floor and forcing three turnovers. K-State made 4 of 6 from the floor during that span, stretching its lead to 49-29 after three quarters of play.
Fort Hays State started to get shots to fall in the fourth quarter, knocking down 7 of 19 from the field through the final 10 minutes while outscoring the Wildcats 17-12. The Tigers opened the period with the ball with Whitney Clampitt feeding a pass to Barbieri at the top of the paint to draw in the defense, allowing Legette to slip under the basket unguarded. Barbieri's pass found Legette in a perfect position, allowing the junior to make a routine layup. Late in the period, Kennett knocked down a step-back jumper from 15 feet before drilling her second three-pointer of the evening two possessions later. Rolfs put a bow on the evening with a triple from the top of the key to make the final score 61-46.
The Tigers are set to open the regular season this weekend when they travel to Fayette, Iowa, for a pair of contests. FHSU will open the year at 8 p.m. Friday against Upper Iowa.