PITTSBURG — The Fort Hays State women aced their first test without floor general Carly Heim, throttling Pittsburg State 78-53 on Thursday at John Lance Arena to strengthen their grip on first place in the MIAA. 

The Tigers led by 11 at halftime before blitzing the Gorillas in the third quarter, closing the frame on a 21-3 run to open up a 61-34 lead heading to the fourth. 

Junior guard Taylor Rolfs matched her career high with 17 points, drawing the start in place of Heim, who is sidelined by a knee injury she suffered in Saturday’s overtime win at Nebraska-Kearney. 

The No. 5-ranked Tigers (20-1, 11-1 MIAA) maintained a two-game lead over Central Missouri, Washburn and Lindenwood at the top of the conference standings. Fort Hays has now reached 20 wins for eight consecutive seasons. 

FHSU locked down a good-shooting Gorillas’ squad, holding Pitt State to just 20 of 57 from the field and 3 of 19 from 3-point range. The Tigers shot 50 percent from the field (29 of 58) and hit 10 of 21 from behind the arc. 

Rolfs, who went 5 of 9 from the field and 5 of 6 from the free-throw line, was joined in double figures by Lanie Page (14), Tatyana Legette (12) and Belle Barbieri (11). Legette also grabbed 11 rebounds to secure a double-double.  

The Tigers set the tone early by using a 13-0 run to open a 15-point lead late in the first quarter. The spurt was capped off a by a 3-pointer from Whitney Clampitt. 

Pitt State (17-5, 9-4 MIAA) was within nine of the Tigers with eight minutes left in the third quarter before the Tigers scored the next 10 points to ignite the 21-3 run. Fort Hays led by as much as 31 in the fourth quarter. 

It was the Tigers' first win in Pittsburg since 2009, snapping an eight-game losing streak at PSU. 

Maya Williams led the Gorillas with 18 points while Athena Alvarado added 11. 

The Tigers will play at Missouri Southern at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.