Tiger women look to stay sharp after delays

Rick Peterson Jr.
Cydney Bergmann drives to the basket on Dec. 1 against Washburn.

Three weeks into the season, the Fort Hays State women’s basketball team still has not played a game on the date it was originally scheduled.

With COVID-19 protocols forcing games to be rescheduled, the Tigers have taken the court just once so far — a 75-69 win against Washburn in a make-up game on Dec. 1.

The Tigers have played fewer games than any team in the conference. Most recently, last Saturday’s game at Nebraska-Kearney was pushed back because of COVID-19 issues for the Lopers.

“We’ve had enough practices where we need to get games to try to find out what to do as a team and what to work on,” FHSU coach Tony Hobson said. “There’s a boredom factor. It’s really tough when you don’t know for sure what day you’re going to play and sometimes who you’re going to play.

“The mental aspect of trying to stay ready, stay focused and stay excited has really been difficult.”

Fort Hays is finally set to return to the court on Saturday, facing Newman at 1:30 p.m. in Wichita.

“We just need to try and get some games under our belt and try to find a way to get better,” Hobson said. “We’re at that point where we need to play somebody else.”

In the Tigers’ lone game so far, senior forward Whitney Randall took charge, scoring 26 points against WU.

“Her confidence is high and she is just being more aggressive because she knows that we have less options this year, or that she is one of the main options, where in the past she might not have been,” Hobson said. “She might have been that third or fourth of fifth option. ... I think now she’s kind of assumed (a go-to) role. When you get that confidence built., you can really kind of be unstoppable, and that’s what I thought she was the other night.”

Newman is 2-2 on the season, coming off a 56-52 win at Washburn on Dec. 5. The Jets are led by Brooke Haney’s 12.5 points per game.

“If you aren’t shooting the ball well, you’re going to have a hard time getting away from them,” Hobson said. “They play a pretty slow pace. They haven’t scored 60 points yet in a game, but they’ve won some of them.

“They made a nice run at Washburn in the fourth quarter and beat them at Washburn, and I know Washburn’s not a slouch. ... Down there, I think it will be a tough game for us.”