The fourth-ranked Fort Hays State women's basketball team will bring home its second regular season MIAA trophy after a 90-66 road win over Northeastern State on Saturday. The title is the Tigers' 10th league championship in regular season history and their ninth regular-season title all-time.
The Tigers (25-1, 16-1 MIAA) won their 10th consecutive game in the process, giving FHSU multiple double-digit win streaks in a single season for just the second time in program history (1990-91).
Five Tigers scored in double figures for the sixth time this season, including a pair of 20-point scorers for the second time this year. Fort Hays State reached the 90-point plateau for the fifth time this year after knocking down a season-best 53.8 percent from the floor (35-of-65).
Lanie Page took center stage early on, knocking down her first four shots to record the initial 10 points for Fort Hays State. The junior banked in a layup on the first possession before hitting a pull-up baseline jumper on the next trip down the floor to put the Tigers in front for good. She added a pair of three-pointers over the next three minutes to stretch the lead to 10-5. NSU closed within two before a 12-3 run put the Tigers back in front by 11, 22-11.
The teams went back and forth in the second quarter, with the RiverHawks closing within six on multiple occasions before four late points from Kacey Kennett gave FHSU a nine-point halftime advantage, 41-32. The Olathe junior scored 10 of her team-high 23 points in the second frame, finishing a perfect 3-for-3 from the field and 4-for-4 from the charity stripe.
Fort Hays State started to pull away after the break, hitting an impressive 61.1 percent from the floor after halftime (22-of-36). After the Tigers did most of their damage on the perimeter in the first half, scoring just 12 points in the paint, FHSU looked inside to seal the deal down the stretch. Tatyana Legette took over in the second half, hitting 7-of-8 from the field for 15 points. The Tigers scored 26 points in the paint in the third and fourth quarters, with Belle Barbieri adding eight points from the low post after halftime.
Page finished just behind Kennett with 20 points, while Legette added 19 points and five steals. Barbieri and Walker both totaled 10 points each, with Barbieri grabbing 12 rebounds to record her second straight double-double.
The Tigers hit 10 of their first 12 shots in the third quarter, stretching the lead to 19 less than seven minutes into the frame. Fort Hays State continues to pour it on in the fourth quarter, with Hailey Walker putting the Tigers up by a game-high 28 points with a layup at the 2:47 mark, 87-59.
It was the ninth time the Tigers have never trailed in a contest this season, and the third such occurrence on the road.
The RiverHawks were almost as sharp as the Tigers in shooting accuracy, knocking down 46.8 percent from the floor and an impressive 52.4 percent from behind the arc (11-for-21). The difference, however, came in the turnover category. Fort Hays State forced NSU into 23 turnovers, creating a whopping 36 points off turnovers for the Tigers.
The Tigers will return to Gross Memorial Coliseum as league champions on Thursday, when they host Missouri Southern in the penultimate contest of the regular season. First tip between the Tigers and Lions is set for 5:30 p.m.