Getting wide-open look after wide-open look against Upper Iowa’s zone, the Fort Hays State women kept trying to break out of a shooting funk.
The Tigers never really got it going from the field, but they were good enough in every other area to notch a comfortable 69-36 win on Saturday at Gross Memorial Coliseum.
No. 12-ranked FHSU (2-0) connected on just 24 of 79 shots for 30 percent and went 9 of 43 from 3-point range, but the Tigers dominated on the boards, outrebounding the Peacocks 53-34 and snatching 29 offensive rebounds.
“What do you do? You have good shooters that I know are good shooters taking good shots,” FHSU coach Tony Hobson said. “I don’t think we really took one that I would have not wanted them to. We we’re getting good looks and they were packing it in. We got exactly what we wanted and they just weren’t going.
“As long as you just play hard … We got 29 offensive rebounds, so we got a lot of those back. To get 29 offensive rebounds you have to miss a lot of shots. But still, I thought our kids played really hard and they crashed the boards, and our defense was fine. So we’ll take it for sure. But hopefully we’ll be able to get more of those to fall in a tight game when we need them.”
The Tigers led 33-16 at halftime despite making just 5 of 28 shots beyond the arc.
“We weren’t hitting a lot of shots, so looking at the score, I was surprised by how far ahead we were,” FHSU forward Whitney Randall said. “It didn’t feel like we were that far ahead. But I love this environment, and I thought we played pretty good for not all of our threes going in.”
Randall, a 5-foot-10 sophomore for Alva, Okla., notched a career-high 14 points, going 6 of 7 from the field.
“Randall had a great second half, and that was by design — just get it to the four man at the elbow and pump fake and go because we’re not hitting anything," Hobson said. "Randall’s a strong kid and she’s got some game in there. She just hasn’t had an opportunity to show it until tonight.”
All of Randall’s points came in the third quarter, including a buzzer-beating layup to close the frame.
“It was kind of unexpected,” Randall said of her third-quarter run, “just because they have some girls that are a lot bigger than me, so I was kind of nervous about that. But they were going in so I was grateful for that.”
Lanie Page bounced back from an off-shooting night against Southwest Minnesota State in the season opener to lead the Tigers with 17 points, hitting five 3-pointers. Taylor Rolfs added 13 while Tatyana Legette chipped in 11.
Upper Iowa (0-2) finished 31 percent from the field. Casey Miles led the Peacocks with nine points.
Fort Hays State will be off for 10 days before facing Newman on the road on Nov. 20 in Wichita.