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Second-half surges fueling Tiger women

Rick Peterson Jr.
Hays Daily News

Hot-shooting second halves have been an early-season theme for the Fort Hays State women's basketball team. 

Madison Mittie has been solid off the bench for the Fort Hays State women's basketball team.

The Tigers have hit 17 second-half 3-pointers combined in their last two games — road wins at Newman (68-48) and Central Oklahoma (81-60). 

Fort Hays, 3-0 on the season, put up 55 points after halftime against UCO this past Tuesday and scored 46 points second-half points against Newman last Saturday.

The Tigers will continue a busy stretch of games this weekend, playing host to Northeastern State at 5:30 p.m. Friday before welcoming Rogers State for a 2 p.m. game Sunday at Gross Memorial Coliseum. 

“We have been much better in the second half, and I think part of that is the inexperience we have on the floor; it just takes us a little while to settle in and get used to the speed of the game,” FHSU coach Tony Hobson said. 

“I don’t think our shot selection has been terrible the first half,” Hobson added. “It just seems like we haven’t been able to get into any flow. I also think our defense has picked up second half. We get such better shots if we’re scoring in transition."

Whitney Randall leads FHSU with 17.3 points per game while point guard Jaden Hobbs is scoring 12.7 a contest. Hobbs recorded eight steals in the UCO win. 

Senior guard Madison Mittie is off to a strong start, giving the Tigers steady play off the bench. Mittie scored seven points and grabbed seven rebounds in the Newman win and put up 14 points (four 3-pointers) in the UCO victory. 

“Maddie, she really never gives us much on the negative side,” Hobson said. “She rebounds her position well. She’s shooting the ball at a good clip, and then she’s got that experience where she knows where she’s going at all times. She gets out in the passing lanes well and she’s a good defender.

“Having somebody with experience to bring off the bench, it can kind of be a calming influence on some of the other kids you’re bringing off the bench that haven’t been around that long. She’s doing a good job. She’s really filling her role and doing what we ask of her.”

Northeastern State (2-3) has lost three straight games but played all three without leading scorer Zaria Collins (20.5 points per game). Collins is expected to back for Friday's game. 

“I think they’re much better with her,” Hobson said. “She’s averaging about 20 in those first two games, so it’s nice for them to get that back in the lineup. 

“They’re very athletic. They’ll press us; they’ve been pressing about everybody. ... I think we’re going to have to make sure we have our motors running because we’re going to have to be on top of it defensively to guard their movement."