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Tigers claw out comeback win vs. Washburn in opener

Rick Peterson Jr.
rpeterson@dailynews.net
Fort Hays State's Whitney Randall takes a shot during the Tigers' season opener on Tuesday against Washburn in Gross Memorial Coliseum. Randall scored a career-high 26 points in FHSU's 75-69 win.

Buoyed by a career night from Whitney Randall and a 10-0 run to close out the game, the Fort Hays State women’s basketball team grabbed a 75-69 win in the Tigers’ long-awaited season opener on Tuesday night at Gross Memorial Coliseum.

With Tiger point guard Jaden Hobbs neutralized by foul trouble, Randall picked up the slack with her best offensive game as a Tiger, scoring a game-high 26 points.

The senior forward said she was amped up to start the season after the Tigers’ opener was delayed 12 days because of COVID-19 protocols.

“I was just really excited to play,” Randall said. “You know we’ve been in preseason for a very long time and then we had a couple games postponed; I was really bummed. And then going into quarantine.

“I was really ready to get going, so that’s kind what pushed me.”

Washburn (0-2) led 69-65 after a bucket by Macy Doebele but went scoreless in the last 5:20.

Hobbs hit a 3-pointer to start the Tigers’ run before fouling out 27 seconds later after picking up a charge with 4:27 left.

Back-to-back buckets by Randall put the Tigers up three, and Cydney Bergmann helped seal it by hitting three out of four free throws in the last 34 seconds.

Hobbs played just 17 minutes due to the foul trouble but she was picked up by her old Alva (Okla.) High School teammate in Randall, who finished 11 of 21 from the field despite going 1 of 7 from 3-point range.

“Whitney had a great game,” FHSU coach Tony Hobson said. “(She) was under control in the post. Really just a strong player. She’s been shooting the 3 so well if she had been shooting her normal 3-point shot like she has been in practice, she would have scored 40.

“It was just a good night for her to have in this situation.”

True freshman Katie Wagner had a big-time Tiger debut , putting up 17 points and grabbing eight rebounds. The 5-11 versatile forward from Maize South also recorded three steals.

“If you take away not very good free throw shooting (5 of 9), it was awesome,” Hobson said of Wagner’s game. “She mixed it up. She can rebound the ball, she can really get a shot off inside.

“She does not play like a freshman. She’s a big strong kid and she thrives on it. I thought her first game as a Tiger was a real good one.”

Randall scored 14 in the first half for the Tigers, who trailed 38-35 at halftime. WU led by as much as six (65-59) in the second half, but the Ichabods went 1 of 7 from the field with five turnovers in the last 6:40 of the game.

Playing about 25 miles from her hometown of Plainville, WU freshman point guard Aubree Dewey scored 16 points on 7 of 11 shooting. Nuria Barrientos also scored 16 for WU while Hunter Bentley added 13.

Washburn senior guard Irene Sanz had to be helped off the floor after going down with an apparent left knee injury in the fist half.

The Tigers are scheduled to play at Nebraska-Kearney at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Check back to hdnews.net on Wednesday for more on the Tigers’ season-opening win with more comments from Hobson and Randall.

FORT HAYS STATE 75, WASHBURN 69

Washburn (0-2)

Dewey 7-11 0-0 16, Sanz 0-1 0-0 0, Oliver 4-5 0-0 8, Bentley 5-16 1-2 13, Barrientos 6-13 3-4 16, Cassaday 1-3 0-0 2, Doebele 1-1 1-2 3, Wiley 2-4 0-0 4, Glatczak 0-1 0-0 0, Tanking 2-5 2-2 7, Narber 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-61 7-10 69.

Fort Hays (1-0)

Hollenbeck 3-5 1-2 7, Golladay 1-1 0-0 3, Hobbs 3-5 0-0 7, Randall 11-21 3-4 26, Bergmann 1-6 4-6 6, Wagner 6-10 5-9 17, Mittie 1-5 0-0 2, Reither 1-6 0-0 3, Sallach 1-5 2-2 4. Totals 28-64 15-23 75.

3-point goals — WU 6-19 (Dewey 2-2, Bentley 2-7, Barrientos 1-4, Tanking 1-4, Sanz 0-1, Willey 0-1). FHSU 4-20 (Randall 1-7, Golladay 1-1, Hobbs 1-2, Reither 1-3, Hollenbeck 0-1, Wagner 0-3, Mittie 0-3). Total fouls — WU 15, FHSU 18. Rebounds — WU 34 (Bentley 10), FHSU 38 (Wagner 8). Assists — WU 12 (Dewey 4, Barrientos 4). FHSU 14 (Hollenbeck 3, Randall 3). Turnovers — WU 14, FHSU 11. Fouled out — Hobbs. Technical fouls — FHSU bench.