It’s likely this week the Fort Hays State University women’s basketball team will be without the services of transfer Lanie Page.
The sophomore from Wamego by way of Kansas State University injured her foot in the first half of Saturday’s blowout victory against Washburn University at Gross Memorial Coliseum.
If that’s the case, that means sophomore Taylor Rolfs likely will step back into her role as a starter.
Considering the fact that’s where the Central Plains High School product spent the first 13 games, that’s not really a bad thing for 10th-year head coach Tony Hobson’s Tigers. Save for the fact it means Taylor Rolfs’ 9.8 points and 3 rebounds per game won’t be coming off the bench.
Enter stage right — Whitney Clampitt.
And what a spark the freshman from Chillicothe, Mo., has been the last two outings.
“She’s getting back on track and playing with a little confidence,” Hobson said of Clampitt. “She gives us some more depth, a great offensive player and gives us a little spark. She’s capable of scoring quickly.”
Never was that more evident than when she buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer in last week’s phenomenal come-from-behind blowout against Emporia State University. Her trey to end the first half gave FHSU its first lead of the ball game and sent Gross Memorial Coliseum into a frenzy. It was part of her 10-point effort, her first game in double figures for FHSU since putting up 11 in a win against Sterling in late November. Seven of those points came in a run that saw FHSU climb back from a 15-point first-half deficit.
“Emporia was a super intense game,” she said. “Once I got in, I knew I had a job to do. I was pumped and excited.
“I thought I executed that pretty well,” she added with a smile.”
One of two freshmen — along with Whitney Randall — seeing considerable time on the floor, Clampitt has logged 14 and 19 minutes the last two outings. That came after she recorded no more than eight minutes the previous five games. She has four 3s in the last two contests.
“I think there was just a lot of downtime. I think I lost of a lot of confidence,” Clampitt said of her rough patch since coming back from the holiday break. In four of the Tigers’ first five games, she hit double digits in scoring, and logged at least 15 minutes each time. “I definitely have got that back — ready to finish off the season.”
That confidence should provide a nice compliment for the Tigers, who Hobson said couldn’t have scripted last week’s sweep of Emporia State and Washburn any better.
And even if Page misses time, FHSU should be playing with a swagger.
“I think we should be able to fight through it,” Hobson said.
The Tigers have been getting stellar performances out of senior Emma Stroyan and junior Tatyana Legette inside. It’s a big reason why FHSU’s numbers have climbed offensively. The Tigers can go inside out. Legette leads FHSU with 13.5 points per game, while junior guard Carly Heim has upped her average to 11.6 a night and sophomore Kacey Kennett is dumping in 10.8.
“(The post play) is the reason it’s been more consistent,” Hobson said. “If you rely on 3s — even a lot of these good teams — anybody can take them down if you’re not hitting them.
“It’s just nice to have both. Right now, we have both of them going OK.”
The Tigers, winners of six straight, still have an outside shot to compete for a conference championship. FHSU sits fourth at 18-4 overall and 9-4 in league play entering this week’s two-game swing in Oklahoma. Thursday’s 5:30 p.m. opponent, Northeastern State University, sits 9-11 overall and 5-8 in league play. Saturday, FHSU will face Central Oklahoma, which is nipping on the Tigers’ heels in fifth place.
“We certainly don’t want to go into the big one Saturday having dropped one Thursday,” Hobson said. “We have to really be ready to play, just take care of business on Thursday.”