FAYETTE, Iowa — The Fort Hays State Unviersity women's basketball team took care of business in its season opener Friday, knocking off Upper Iowa 66-32. It was the fewest points the Tigers have allowed to a Division II opponent since the end of the 2014-15 regular season (50-24 at Northeastern State).
The Tigers limited the Peacocks to just 21.2 percent (11-of-52) shooting from the floor while forcing a whopping 24 turnovers. FHSU knocked down a modest 37.5 percent (24-of-64) from the field, but dominated in every other category to secure the victory. The Tigers totaled 13 steals and four blocks on the defensive end while turning the ball over just nine times themselves. FHSU now has won its season opener 14 years in a row and is 32-17 all-time in season openers.
Kacey Kennett and Tatyana Legette each dropped in 15 points to lead all scorers, with Legette adding seven rebounds, two assists, three steals and one block. Emma Stroyan grabbed a game-high eight rebounds while chipping in five points, two blocks and one assist. Whitney Randall scored three points and grabbed three rebounds while making a start in her first collegiate contest.
It was evident that this was the first game of the season for the first three minutes of action, with the teams combining to go 0-for-8 from the field to start the contest. Carly Heim broke the ice with a layup on a pass from Legette at the 6:55 mark, and the rout was on.
The Tigers scored the first eight points on the night, holding the Peacocks scoreless for more than six minutes at the start of the evening. A three-pointer from Kennett later in the frame put the Tigers in front by double figures for the first time of the night, 13-3. UIU trimmed the lead to 15-8 after one quarter of play, but a triple from Taylor Rolfs early in the second quarter put the Tigers in front by double digits for the remainder of the night.
Rolfs wasn't done with that 3-pointer, however, as the sophomore went on to score seven straight points for the Tigers to open the second frame. A deep ball from the Peacocks interrupted the run before FHSU proceeded to score 13 in a row to build the lead to 24, 35-11. The Tigers missed just one shot during that 1 minute, 43 second run, knocking down 5-of-6 from the floor and 3-of-3 from behind the arc. UIU closed the quarter with a 6-2 run to make the score 37-17 at halftime.
Fort Hays State continued to pour it on after the break, using runs of 7-0 in the third quarter and 13-0 in the fourth quarter to lead by as many as 38. The Peacocks made just two field goals in the third frame, totaling seven points in the quarter. FHSU held the Peacocks to single digits in scoring in each quarter.
The Tigers will return to action Saturday when they take on Southwest Minnesota State in Fayette.