Lights-out shooting pushes FHSU women past Gorillas
PITTSBURG - The Fort Hays State women's basketball team used its best shooting effort ever in an MIAA game to hold off Pittsburg State Saturday afternoon (Jan. 23), 85-73. The Tigers (9-2, 9-2 MIAA) hit 62.1 percent from the floor (36-of-58), their best shooting percentage ever in an MIAA contest and the third-best shooting game in the Tony Hobson era.
The Tigers also hit 64.3 percent from behind the arc (9-of-14), the third-best effort from deep during the MIAA era and the second-best percentage under Hobson. FHSU matched its season-high in scoring with 85 points while totaling a season-best 50 points in the first half.
Jaden Hobbs matched her season high with 26 points and added 12 assists for her second double-double of the season, finishing one assist shy of the program record. Whitney Randall totaled 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting while drilling 3-of-6 from behind the arc, giving the Tigers multiple 20-plus point scorers for the first time in nearly two years (Kacey Kennett 23 and Lanie Page 20 at Northeastern State, 2/23/19).
Pittsburg State (8-5, 8-5 MIAA) led twice early on, including 53 seconds into the game when Maya Williams hit the first shot of the game. The Gorillas went up 10-9 later in the quarter on a 3-pointer from Williams, but Randall answered each Williams bucket with a 3-pointer to give the lead to FHSU.
The home team tied things up at 12-12 before the Tigers finished the quarter on an 18-7 run to take a 30-19 lead. FHSU hit 8-of-11 during the stretch while forcing three turnovers. The Tigers finished the opening quarter shooting 72.2 percent from the floor (13-of-18) including a 4-of-5 effort from behind the arc (80.0 percent). Randall scored 10 points in the opening frame after hitting 4-of-6 from the floor while Hobbs dished out six assists in the first quarter alone.
Fort Hays State kept things going in the second quarter, hitting 60 percent of its shots (9-of-15). Despite hitting just 41.2 percent of its shots in the second frame, Pittsburg State outscored the Tigers 22-20 in the frame to make the halftime score 50-41.
The Tigers didn't miss a beat coming out of the locker room, scoring the first seven points of the second half and hitting six of their first eight shots in the third quarter. Hobbs hit a 3-pointer 35 seconds into the half before Katie Wagner scored of the next two possessions, pushing the Tigers in front 57-41 and prompting a Gorilla timeout.
Cydney Bergmann added the next four points before Randall and Hobbs scored on back-to-back possessions, capping a 15-5 FHSU run that gave the Tigers their largest lead of the game midway through the third quarter, 65-46.
Hobbs scored nine-straight points for the Tigers spanning the end of the third quarter and the start of the final frame, helping FHSU hold off a quick Gorilla run. PSU closed within eight by the midway point of the fourth quarter before Wagner pushed the lead back to double figures with a layup.
Randall hit another 3-pointer at the 2:18 mark that proved to be the dagger, stretching the FHSU lead to 83-70. The senior hit two free throws in the final minute to push her scoring total over 20 for the fifth time in her career.
Hobbs hit a career-best 11 field goals (11-of-18) while burying 4-of-6 from behind the arc. It her sixth game this season with at least four made 3-pointers. In addition to her 21 points, Randall added a career-high five assists and five rebounds.
Wagner scored 16 points on 8-of-13 shooting, one point off her season-high, while grabbing a team-best nine rebounds. Bergmann chipped in eight points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Madison Mittie was 3-for-3 from the floor and 2-for-2 from deep, totaling eight points. Olivia Hollenbeck added six points, five rebounds and one block.
The Tigers had a 29-25 edge in rebounds and scored 16 points off 10 PSU turnovers. The Gorillas finished the game shooting 46.4 percent (26-of-56) and 40 percent from deep (12-of-30). FHSU doubled up PSU in scoring in the paint, 34-16.
It was just the third time a Hobson-led team has shot 60 percent or better from the field as well as the third time a Hobson-led team has hit 60 percent from the 3-point line. However, this is the first time in the Hobson era that a team has been over 60 percent from both the floor and from behind the arc.
The Tigers will now set their sights on the fourth-ranked and league-leading Nebraska-Kearney Lopers. The rival Tigers and Lopers will face off twice next week, in Kearney on Tuesday (Jan. 26) beginning at 5:30 p.m. and in Hays next Saturday (Jan. 30) beginning at 2 p.m.