There’s no denying the Fort Hays State University women’s basketball team has had an up and down season. FHSU started 7-0 before dropping a pair of games at perennial MIAA contenders Washburn University and Emporia State University.
Then after the holiday break, the start to 2018 was arguably less than stellar. The Tigers are 4-2 in the new year with a loss to MIAA leading University of Central Missouri and a rare loss to University of Nebraska-Kearney, the first loss to the Lopers since Tiger head coach Tony Hobson’s first year in Hays 10 seasons ago.
However, the Tigers have upped their play recently, and there has been a bright spot in what has been a roller coaster of a season.
Tatyana Legette has been a consistent force.
Somewhat up-and-down herself, the 5-foot-10 junior forward from Topeka has at least been a scoring threat no matter the situation.
“She has been up way more than down,” Hobson said of the Topeka-Seaman product, who has played in every Tiger game since joining the program in 2015. “Probably offensively, our most consistent performer. She’s the one we go to when we want to isolate somebody.”
With the personnel the Tigers have in place this season and with the addition of Kansas State transfer Lanie Page, Legette has been used in a versatile role on the floor. And, that’s helped up her numbers from a season ago when she averaged 9.6 points as a sophomore.
Entering today’s 5:30 p.m. tip at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo., Legette — more informally known by her teammates as “T” — leads the club with 13.9 points per night and 7.8 rebounds. She has scored in single digits just three times for the 14-4 Tigers, including 13-point outings the last two games. Saturday’s win against Northwest Missouri State, which brought the Tigers back above .500 in MIAA play at 5-4, was the best outing, she said, for the club.
“We really just wanted to step up and show we are capable of playing above and beyond,” Legette said. “We just concentrated and communicated really well.
“The girls did really well Saturday.”
Though just a junior, no Tiger has appeared in more games on Hobson’s young team than Legette. She played in all 31 contests as a true freshman, then played in all 30 games a year ago and earned honorable mention status in the conference with just six starts.
This season, she’s used her role on the offense to diversify her game and is playing like the veteran.
“She’s multi-dimensional when it comes to scoring,” Hobson said. The coach has called her more than once the Tigers’ fastest player. Never was that more evident then in Saturday’s game on a break when she was out in front and junior Carly Heim hit her in full stride for a layup that sparked a big first-quarter run.
“She can really get by people on the drive and she can post up,” Hobson said.
The ability to go underneath has helped as well, Hobson said, because the Tigers can have her and 6-2 senior forward Emma Stroyan on the floor at the same time.
The Tigers enter this week’s road swing with a chance to make up some ground. Central Missouri is well out in front with a 10-0 MIAA mark, but the next three spots are a tight race among the next nine teams. This weekend’s two opponents — Lincoln and Lindenwood — are winless and have just two conference wins, respectively.
That’s not on the Tigers’ minds. They know they have to come out with the same intensity they showed in the win against Northwest Missouri.
Often times, Hobson said, the “only excitable person out there to start the game usually is T.”
That wasn’t the case Saturday, something they’ll need to match on the road this week.
“When you’re away, you don’t have the big crowds you have here in Hays,” Legette said. “You should be able to play with the same intensity and effort you have here at home.”