If nothing else, the Fort Hays State University women’s basketball team did what it was supposed to do Saturday in a blowout win against Northwest Missouri State University.
If the Tigers hope to claim their spot as one of the top tier teams in the MIAA, they are supposed to play well at home and take out teams sitting at the bottom of the conference without a win.
The Tigers look to take that same mentality on the road this week, as they continue to try and make up ground on the top teams in the conference. FHSU (14-4 overall, 5-4 MIAA) takes on Lincoln University at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and Lindenwood University at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Jefferson City and St. Charles, Mo., respectively.
“Saturday, that was a really good win,” said Tiger junior Tatyana Legette, FHSU’s leading scorer at 13.9 points per game. “We really needed to just focus and have a lot of intensity. That’s what we were lacking.”
FHSU picked up a pair of wins after a rare home loss to University of Nebraska-Kearney the week prior. Saturday arguably was the best game the Tigers put together since the holiday break, if not all season. The Tigers put up 25 points in the first quarter and didn’t commit a turnover.
“The games didn’t get sloppy,” Tiger head coach Tony Hobson said of the weekend sweep of Missouri Western and Northwest Missouri. “Fundamentally we were good. We took better shots and our ball movement on offense was better.”
After a rough loss to UNK, it seems the Tigers have figured things out and hope to build on that momentum on the road. Thursday, they’ll face a Lincoln team that has yet to pick up a conference victory. The Blue Tigers sit 3-15 overall and 0-10 in the MIAA.
The record, however, is deceiving, especially considering Lincoln presents a tough challenge on its home floor.
“They’ve played a lot of people close,” Hobsons said. “It’s a game I would hope to win, but you have to go there and play.”
Key for the Tigers as they hope to reach the same momentum they had before the holiday break (a 9-2 start), is getting off to a good start. Saturday, junior guard Carly Heim provided the spark early, a critical component Hobson said.
“If she gets off to a slow start, it seems like our whole team does,” Hobson said. “She realizes that and we’ve talked about it. She got us off to a great start. When you have 25 points in a quarter without a turnover, you know you have somebody running the point that knows what they’re doing.”
With single-digit turnovers the last two games, FHSU is regaining its status as one of the leaders in the nation in that category.
At 5-4, FHSU sits seventh in the MIAA, a half game back of Nebraska-Kearney and 1.5 games back of fourth-place Pittsburg State and Missouri Southern.
The road games this week present an opportunity to make up ground.
“We just can’t lose too many more games and stay up in the top tier like we want to,” Hobson said.