Saturday night served as another step for the Fort Hays State University women’s basketball team.
Judging by what the Tigers have accomplished so far this season, those steps might be turning into leaps.
Fort Hays dominated another opponent Saturday at Gross Memorial Coliseum, thrashing Sterling 90-48 in nonconference action.
More importantly, the victory improved the Tigers to 5-0 this year entering MIAA play Thursday against Missouri Southern at GMC.
“There’s always room for improvement,” said sophomore Kacey Kennett. “We can always do better, but we’re getting there. We’ve been doing good things, and it’s starting to work pretty good.”
The Tigers did good things early against the Warriors, leading 28-12 after the first quarter and 48-27 at halftime.
“I like our team,” said FHSU coach Tony Hobson. “I think we have a lot of room for improvement, but at the same time, it’s not like we’re bad right now. But I can see us getting way better. But that’s good. You don’t want to peak in November or think, ‘Boy, we’re as good as we can get.’ We can still improve a lot.”
Fort Hays has rolled through the first five games, and Saturday night was no different. The 42-point win against Sterling pushed the Tigers’ margin of victory through five games to 32.2 points.
“These games help us out a lot just running through plays and getting the feel for things,” said Kennett, who finished with 14 points and seven rebounds against Sterling. “We try to use these games to the best of our advantage to prepare us for what’s to come.”
She was one of five different FHSU players to reach double figures in scoring, led by junior Tatyana Legette’s 16 points. Legette also had seven rebounds and four steals.
Senior Emma Stroyan added 12 points, and junior Carly Heim and freshman Whitney Clampitt each finished with 11.
Fort Hays outscored Sterling in each of the four quarters, with the closest period in the third at 19-15.
“It’s time,” Hobson said. “We had a pretty tough game last weekend against Newman. We won by 13, but it was a battle. But it’s time to step up the intensity and see where we’re at. It’s going to get real real fast.”
The Tigers out-rebounded Sterling 56-23 and had 25 offensive boards.
Sterling was paced by senior Jordin Greer’s 13 points, and senior Jessica Princ added 10.
Each of the 11 players who saw time on the floor scored at least a point for FHSU.
Hobson knows his young team has played well so far, but he also knows the start of conference play Thursday will bring a new challenge — one he hopes his team is ready for.
“I hope so, but the teams coming in next weekend will let us know,” Hobson said. “We’ll find out. It’s just like preparing for a test. These early games, some are tougher than others, but they just kind of prepare you. Hopefully you get a little better and a little bit better. We’ll find out, because we’ll be tested both of these games this weekend.”