ST. JOSEPH, Mo. - The 10th-ranked Fort Hays State women's basketball team dropped a game for the first time in more than a month Thursday evening (Jan. 23), falling to Missouri Western, 75-58. The Tigers move to 15-3 overall and 6-3 in MIAA play, while the Griffons climb to 14-3 and 6-2 and stay perfect at home this season (9-0).
The Tigers forced nine turnovers in the first quarter and held the Griffons to just 10 points over the first 10 minutes, but the Fort Hays offense did not get off to the same hot start. Kacey Kennett did the majority of the scoring for the Tigers in the opening period, scoring 11 of FHSU's 14 points. She hit four of the five Tiger buckets in the frame, including a trio of 3-pointers. Kennett poured in her third make from behind the arc just before time expired, giving the Tigers their largest lead of the day, 14-10.
Missouri Western pulled in front early in the second quarter thanks to a 10-2 run, 20-16, before six more points from Kennett helped the Tigers battle back to tie things up at 22. The Griffons took a 27-23 lead into the locker room after scoring five of the final six points in the half.
The Griffons opened the second half where they left off before halftime, scoring the first 14 points of the frame, the longest run for a Tiger opponent this season. The home team did not miss a shot over the first four minutes of the third quarter, hitting its first five attempts from the floor and a trio of free throws. A breakaway layup from Simone Walker pushed the MWSU lead to 18 points, 41-23, with 6:23 on the clock, prompting a Tiger timeout.
Cydney Bergmann came in off the bench after the timeout and immediately made her presence known, erupting for 12 points over a two minute, six second stretch to allow the Tigers to close within 11, 46-35. The sophomore was 4-for-4 from the floor and 4-for-4 from the line over that stretch.
The Tigers ultimately closed within 10, 52-42, by the early portion of the fourth quarter, but Missouri Western had an answer to each Tiger run the rest of the way.
Fort Hays State finished the game with a season-low shooting percentage of 30.8 percent (16-of-52). The Tigers were effective at the free throw line, burying 21-of-24 from the stripe. The Griffons knocked down 55.6 percent from the floor (30-of-54), 40 percent from deep (6-of-15) and hit all nine of their free throws.
MWSU controlled the paint, outscoring the Tigers 38-22 and outrebounding FHSU 33-26. The Tigers forced 18 turnovers, but turned the ball over 17 times.
Kennett led all scorers with a season-high 22 points after hitting four of FHSU's five 3-pointers. She was a perfect 6-for-6 from the line. Bergmann added a career-best 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting and a perfect 4-for-4 day at the line while matching her career high with three steals. Jaden Hobbs contributed seven points and three assists, while Belle Barbieri led the team with six rebounds and four assists.
Walker led the Griffons with 21 points, with Katrina Roenfeldt adding 19 points and nine rebounds.
The Tigers will wrap up the quick road trip on Saturday (Jan. 25) when they face off with Northwest Missouri State. First tip is set for 1:30 p.m. from Maryville, Mo.