EDMOND, Okla. — Jaden Hobbs banked in a 3-pointer late in regulation and Kacey Kennett drilled a pair of clutch 3-pointers in overtime to help the Fort Hays State women's basketball team capture a thrilling 71-64 win over Central Oklahoma on Thursday. The Tigers move to 21-6 overall and 12-6 in MIAA play with one regular season game remaining, while the Bronchos are now 17-9 on the year and 11-7 in league action.
The Tigers have now won nine consecutive overtime games and 11 of the 16 overtime contests under head coach Tony Hobson.
After Fort Hays State led for nearly all of regulation, Central Oklahoma scored eight-straight points in the final three minutes of the fourth quarter to take a three-point lead, 57-54. Hobbs knocked down a pair of free throws after a hard foul with 27 seconds left before the Bronchos countered with two free throws of their own.
Getting the ball back with 17 seconds to go and down by three, the Tigers tried to set things up to get an open look from deep. The first few options were not open before the ball found its way back to Hobbs at the top of the key. The Alva, Okla. native fired up a shot from well behind the arc that bounced off the backboard and into the basket, tying things up with 3.5 seconds to go.
Both teams had chances to win in regulation, but a turnover from both sides and a missed 3-pointer at the buzzer from UCO forced overtime.
The Bronchos won the tip in overtime and promptly took the lead with a layup. Fort Hays State could not capitalize on its first three possessions in the extra period, missing a pair of shots and making one turnover. The Tigers stepped up on defense, however, forcing a turnover and three-straight misses to keep it a one-possession game.
Fort Hays State finished the game strong, knocking down both of its shots from the floor and all six of their free throws to secure the win. The Tigers got on the board in overtime with less than two minutes to play after Whitney Randall found Kennett unguarded on the left wing, allowing the senior to drill her second 3-pointer of the day and give FHSU a 62-61 lead.
Central Oklahoma responded with a 3-pointer on the other end of the floor to go back in front by two before Kennett did it again. Standing in nearly the same spot on the left wing in front of the Tiger bench, the Olathe, Kan. native sent a pass into Randall to force the zone defense to collapse. Randall made one move before dishing the ball back out to Kennett, who buried another high-arcing 3-pointer to put the Tigers back up by one, 65-64.
Hobbs then drew an offensive foul on the other end before Randall made it a three-point game with a pair of free throws with 17 seconds to go. UCO missed on a quick 3-pointer, allowing Kennett to secure the rebound. Kennett added a pair of free throws before Hobbs added two more with five seconds on the clock to secure the win.
After scoring first on a layup from Kennett, the Tigers trailed for all of 54 seconds before going back in front for the majority of the contest. The Tigers knocked down more than 50 percent from the floor in the first quarter to take a 21-15 lead after 10 minutes of play.
Fort Hays State led by four at hafltime, 31-27, after UCO hit a layup just before the buzzer sounded at the end of the second quarter.
Kennett led all scorers with 22 points, matching her season high, while grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out three assists. Hobbs added 14 points, six assists and three steals. Belle Barbieri recorded her conference-leading 10th double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Taylor Rolfs added 12 points, six rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block.
Fort Hays State finished the game 26-of-58 from the floor (44.8 percent), including an 8-for-22 effort from deep and an 11-of-12 day at the charity stripe. The Tiger defense held the Bronchos to 36.9 percent from the floor (26-of-35), including a 30.4 shooting percentage in the fourth quarter and overtime (7-of-23). The Tigers outrebounded UCO by seven, 39-32. FHSU was able to overcome turning the ball over times, matching its season-high.
Fort Hays State now sits in a tie for fifth in the league standings with one game to go Saturday (Feb. 29) at Newman. First tip is slated for 1:30 p.m. from Fugate Gymnasium.