ST. CHARLES, Mo. — The Fort Hays State women's basketball team put together its best shooting performance of the season Saturday afternoon en route to an 87-73 victory over Lindenwood. It was the most points the Tigers have scored against an NCAA Division II opponent this season and matches the most points LU has allowed in a contest this season.
The Tigers move to 16-4 on the year after their fourth-straight victory while improving to 7-4 in MIAA action. Lindenwood dipped to 10-11 overall and 2-10 in league play after its seventh-consecutive loss.
Fort Hays State held the potent Lion offense to just 24 points in the opening 20 minutes, their fewest in a first half this season. Lindenwood came into the contest leading the conference with an average of 78.7 points per contest. The Tigers led by 17 at the break, 41-24.
Tony Hobson's squad poured in 56.6 percent (30-of-53) of its shots in the victory, their highest shooting percentage in a game this season.
The Tigers took control early on after Carly Heim drilled a 3-pointer one minute into the contest. Lindenwood momentarily tied things up at four, but a long-range bucket from Lanie Page kick-started another Tiger run to put them up by seven only five minutes into the game, 13-6.
The Lions closed the first quarter and opened the second period with a 10-2 run to take the lead, 19-18. Page drove the floor and dropped in a layup in transition to return the advantage to Fort Hays State, where it would stay for the rest of the afternoon. Page's bucket again started a long Tiger rally, this time putting the Tigers in front by 17 points. FHSU outscored the Lions 19-1 over the heart of the second quarter, holding LU without a field goal for nearly seven minutes.
Page took over during the long Tiger run, scoring 12 points and dishing out a pair of assists in the final eight minutes and change of the half. The sophomore hit a mid-range jumper with 4:23 to play before halftime to put the Tigers in front by double figures, 31-20. LU would trail by double digits for the rest of the afternoon.
After hitting just 38.1 percent (8-of-21) of its shots in the first half, Lindenwood turned things around to shoot 55.9 percent (19-of-34) from the floor after the break. The Lions were unable to claw back, however, because Fort Hays State was an efficient 14-of-20 from the field in the second half, good for 70 percent.
The Tiger lead expanded as far as 23 after Belle Barbieri was fouled as she made a layup, pouring in the ensuing free throw to put the Tigers in front, 62-39, with just more than two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Lindenwood tried to put a rally together in the fourth quarter, but Fort Hays State had an answer at nearly every turn. Fort Hays State capitalized at the free throw line to hold on, knocking down 18-of-23 from the stripe in the second half. The Lions trimmed the lead to 13 midway through the period, but Emma Stroyan answered by rattling home a pull-up jumper from 15 feet to slow the rally. LU closed within 12 on a pair of occasions down the stretch, but clutch free throws from Whitney Randall and a nifty driving layup from Taylor Rolfs helped the Tigers maintain control.
Page led all scorers with 21 points on an efficient 8-of-13 shooting, setting a new career-high. Heim knocked down six of her seven attempts, including all four of her trips to the free throw line, adding 18 points after scoring 20 on Thursday. Tatyana Legette finished the day with nine points and nine rebounds, while adding two assists and a block. Barbieri matched her teammate with a game-high nine boards. Page also dished out four assists while adding three blocks on defense.
The Tigers dominated on the boards, nearly doubling up one of the best rebounding teams in the MIAA, 40-21. Fort Hays State did make an uncharacteristic 15 turnovers in the victory, including nine after halftime.
The Tigers will return home next week when in-state rival Emporia State makes the trip to Hays on Wednesday. Tip is set for 5:30 p.m. inside Gross Memorial Coliseum.