JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Sharp-shooting from 3-point range and taking advantage of several trips to the free throw line down the stretch helped the Fort Hays State University women’s basketball team knock off Lincoln 65-55 on Thursday. The Tigers improve to 15-4 on the year and 6-4 in MIAA play, while the Blue Tigers are now 3-16 overall and 0-11 in MIAA action.
The Tigers matched their season-high with 10 3-pointers in the victory, including seven in the first half. Carly Heim contributed half of those long-range makes, pouring in a career-high five shots from deep en route to a game-high 20 points.
Both sides kept things close during the opening 10 minutes, with the lead changing hands four times and neither team going in front by more than four. Lanie Page set the tone for the evening with a 3-pointer just 15 seconds into the contest set up by a pass from Heim. The Blue Tigers scored the next five points to go in front by two, but FHSU ultimately took the lead for good after a Tatyana Legette layup five-and-a-half minutes into the contest. Heim’s second triple of the afternoon stretched the lead to four late in the period before a Lincoln lay in made the score 14-12 after the first period.
Fort Hays took control in the second quarter, holding Lincoln without a field goal for nearly five minutes while knocking down 4-of-8 from downtown in the period. Taylor Rolfs triggered a 10-2 Tiger run with a 3-pointer one minute into the frame before Page wrapped up the stretch with a triple of her own, putting the Tigers in front by 10. Lincoln closed within seven on a pair of occasions, but Heim’s third triple of the night gave the Tigers a 10-point edge at the break, 30-20.
The Blue Tigers hung around in the second half, using a buzzer-beating layup at the end of the third quarter to propel them to a fourth-quarter comeback. Five quick points from Lincoln’s Amber Braxton helped the home team close within four, 45-41. Lincoln kept the pressure on down the stretch, but Fort Hays State had an answer every time, never allowing the Blue Tigers within one possession.
The Tigers held on down the stretch thanks to success at the free throw line, knocking down 10-of-14 free throws over the final five minutes of action. Lincoln trailed by just four points as late as 3:20 to play in the contest, but Fort Hays State went 3-of-3 from the floor and added six free throws after that point to pull away late.
The Fort Hays limited Lincoln to a 32.2 percent effort from the floor, blocking six shots and adding nine steals. The Tigers dominated on the boards, grabbing 47 rebounds to LU’s 35 boards.
Legette (12 points) and Rolfs (10 points) both joined Heim in double figures in scoring, while Legette added nine rebounds and Rolfs dished out a season-high five assists. Belle Barbieri led the team with 10 rebounds, matching her career high.
Fort Hays State will wrap up a quick two-game road trip Saturday with a meeting against Lindenwood in St. Charles, Mo. Tip is set for 5:30 p.m.