TOPEKA — A nice chunk of the attendance in Lee Arena for Saturday’s Fort Hays State-Washburn women’s game was made up of Tatyana Legette fans.
Whether they were Fort Hays supporters or just Topekans who came to watch Legette play in her hometown, the Seaman graduate had a big following in her corner.
Those fans not only watched Legette earn a win in her last game in Topeka but also saw the senior reach a major milestone in the process.
Legette notched a team-high 18 points and became the 20th Tiger in FHSU program history to reach the 1,000-point milestone, keying the No. 3-ranked Tigers’ 59-51 win over Washburn.
She helped the Tigers get off to a fast start and also came up with key plays late as Fort Hays (16-1, 7-1 MIAA) held off Washburn (11-5, 6-1 MIAA) to move back into a tie for first place in the MIAA.
“It is a great feeling,” Legette said. “I’m so happy that we were able to get this win. Being able to play in my hometown and have all the support not only from my friends and family and people from Topeka, but also to see everyone from Hays to be able to come and support the team as well, it’s just a great feeling.
“This is my last game that I’ll be playing at Washburn. It was bittersweet. I’m just happy we were able to get this win. I’m happy for my team because they worked really hard today.”
Legette also recorded a game-high 8 rebounds and added 3 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals.
“I was really happy for her because she wanted this so bad,” FHSU coach Tony Hobson said. “I was kind of worried that it might be one of these deals where she tried so hard that she would have three fouls the first four minutes.
“You could just tell that she was not going to let us lose. She played as hard as I’ve ever seen her play.”
Legette, who entered the game at 990 career points, went over the 1,000-point mark on a 3-pointer with 2:05 left in the first half that gave FHSU a 31-16 lead.
“It feels good to actually do it here in front of family and friends,” Legette said of the milestone.
Fort Hays, which bounced back from its first loss of the season at Emporia State on Wednesday, jumped out to a 19-12 lead by the end of the first quarter.
The Tigers then took control with a 10-0 run in the second frame and had a 34-20 lead at halftime.
“We definitely had an edge,” Legette said of the Tigers' mindset after the ESU loss.
WU, which ended a nine-game winning streak, fought back to get within six three times late in the fourth quarter but could get no closer. A driving layup from Legette helped restore an eight-point lead with 1:27 left.
Fort Hays shut down WU’s top two scorers, holding Hunter Bentley (11.3 points per game) and Reagan Phelan (10.7 per game) to a combined 1 of 10 shooting.
“I thought we did just a great job of keeping them in front us and switching, and when they did have a shot we contested it,” Hobson said. “We just did not let them penetrate in the gaps at all. We did a good job of reaching and deflecting the ball.”
WU went 21 of 58 from the field while Fort Hays was 21 of 55. FHSU went 13 of 15 from the foul line and 4 of 11 from 3-point range while WU was 6 of 8 from the line and 3 of 18 from 3.
Legette was joined in double figures by Belle Barbieri (11) and Lanie Page (10).
Hobson said heading into the game he was intrigued to see how the Tigers would respond from their first loss of the season.
“I wasn’t really worried, more like interested,” Hobson said. “We haven’t really lost a game since last March, so let’s just see how it’s going to be. We come here and play a team that hasn’t been beaten in conference and it’s always a tough place to win. I really liked the response. I think that tells you a little about the character of our team.”