All season long, the Fort Hays State University women’s basketball team really hasn’t been the type to overlook an opponent.
That’s due, at least in part, to the fact the Tigers really haven’t been in a position to do so.
Up until last week’s road trip to Oklahoma, the Tigers really hadn’t played anyone that — at least on paper — they clearly was superior to.
So there’s no reason to think FHSU will look past Northeastern State University in Thursday’s 5:30 p.m. tip at Gross Memorial Coliseum.
That’s even considering the Tigers just routed the RiverHawks 71-53 on NSU’s home floor just six days ago.
“We beat them by a lot last time,” Tiger senior Emma Stroyan said. “I don’t want to overlook it.”
But two bad things happened on that road trip, and FHSU coach Tony Hobson thinks handling Northeastern State comfortably might just have been one of those things. The other was a narrow loss against University of Central Oklahoma, a team jockeying with FHSU right now in the two through six ranks in the MIAA standings.
“Those two things combined will have a tendency to make your team overlook that first game,” Hobson said.
Central Missouri at 14-1 is well out front, but FHSU enters this week’s doubleheader in solid position to move up to second place. That starts with a solid win against NSU.
“We’re down to the end of the season. Every game is really important for conference seeding,” Hobson said.
The Tigers are 19-5 overall and 10-5 entering Thursday’s tip, while Northeastern State sits 9-13, 5-10.
The Tigers, though, know they didn’t get the RiverHawks’ best shot. That’s the attitude they have to take into Game 1 if they have any chance at redemption Saturday when UCO makes a visit to Gross Memorial Coliseum.
“When you lose, there’s still that fire where it’s just like ‘OK, I want to play them again,’ ” Stroyan said.
The loss at UCO (72-70) on Saturday snapped the Tigers’ seven-game winning streak. At one point FHSU was sitting below .500 in the conference standings, but since has charged to be in the position they are.
“We did have a good run going. We just have to keep that up, find that again,” Stroyan said. “We have a fire built under us now.”
In the meeting in Tahlequah, Stroyan led three Tigers in double digits on a balanced night where FHSU hit eight 3s and 9 of 11 from the free throw line. Two nights later, the Tigers hit eight 3s and were 18 of 23 from the foul line in the loss at UCO.
FHSU feels as though it let a good opportunity slip away.
However, just as last week, if they let something slip against NSU, Saturday’s game loses its luster.
“To this point, we have not had an issue with (overlooking anyone),” Hobson said. “We have really zeroed in on what we needed to do. Northeastern is probably a little better than what we saw.
“They’re very capable, Hobson added.
The Tigers play three of their final four regular season games at home — the lone road game being a date next week with University of Nebraska-Kearney, which arguably was the Tigers worst loss thus far this season.