KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Western women didn't go down without a fight.
The Griffons stayed within striking distance the entire night against No. 3 Fort Hays State in the MIAA Tournament quarterfinals. In the second half, the Tigers began to hit shots and closed the deal, ending the Griffons' season with a 71-58 win.
"It really came down to rebounding and the little things," Western coach Rob Edmisson said. "(Fort Hays) hit timely threes but between (Wednesday night) defensively and what we did (against the Tigers) I'm just really proud of how our kids finished the season."
Western was out-rebounded 39 to 22 on the night.
The Griffons held a one-point lead going into the second quarter. Heading into the halftime break, the Griffons only trailed by four.
In the third quarter, junior Taylor Rolfs was the spark that the Tigers needed. The junior scored 10 of her 16 points in the third quarter to help give the Hays a 10-point advantage after three quarters.
"It was big, I thought Taylor had as big of a game as she's had for us," FHSU coach Tony Hobson said.
The Griffons made one final push, cutting the deficit to 52-48 with 4:51 to play but the Tigers responded with a 10-0 run.
"We were trying to mix and match a little bit," Edmisson said. "I felt like the zone (defense) gave us the best shot. The matchups against them are just crazy hard."
Brittany Atkins led the Griffons with 24 points on the night in her final game for Western.
"I'm blessed that I've got to coach Brittany, I love this kid to death," Edmisson said. "Her whole story makes her a special young lady."
Melia Richardson added 11 points for Western.
Three Tigers finished in double figures with Lanie Page leading the way with 19 points. Page scored seven of the first nine points for the Tigers.
The Griffons advanced to the quarterfinal round after topping Nebraska-Kearney on Wednesday night. Hobson felt that having that first tournament win of the week helped Western going into Thursday's matchup.
"You could tell that (Western) was playing loose and shot the ball so much better tonight," Hobson said. "I thought it took us a half to get into the rhythm that they were in to start."