Fort Hays State women's basketball to recognize senior Madison Mittie on Thursday
The senior night spotlight will shine on Madison Mittie for the Fort Hays State women's basketball team.
Mittie, a fifth-year Tiger, will be recognized before Thursday's 5:30 p.m. tipoff against Lincoln at Gross Memorial Coliseum.
The Tigers' final home game is Saturday against Central Missouri, but senior festivities were moved up to Thursday so that Mittie's father, Kansas State women's basketball coach Jeff Mittie, can attend.
FHSU coach Tony Hobson lauded Mittie's contributions to the program, crediting the 5-10 guard for giving the Tigers "all the things you want out of a player."
Mittie, who bounced back from a torn ACL that forced her to miss her entire sophomore season, has made 106 career appearances for the Tigers, proving to be one the Tigers' most reliable options off the bench. She's averaging 4.9 points and 2.8 rebounds in 21 minutes per game this season for the 16-2 Tigers.
"She's been just a steady player that's kind of given us just consistent play all the time since that freshman year off the bench," Hobson said. "She has a knack for hitting big shots and she's one of those people that can come off the bench and right away just be in the flow of the game. Most people have a hard time doing that.
"A good person for our program. A good student, a good teammate to everybody. All the kids really like her. She's a popular kid on our team. ... Really hard worker. Comes to practice every day and doesn't take any days off. I've really enjoyed having her in our program."
Jaden Hobbs and Whitney Randall are also seniors, but both have already made plans to return to the program next season. That option became available after the NCAA granted another year of eligibility to winter athletes this year because of hardships caused by the pandemic.
"They already made that decision (to come back) and we talked about it," Hobson said of Hobbs and Randall. "... They've adjusted their schedule as far as their majors. I think both of them will end up with a couple degrees.
"The reason Madison isn't coming back is because she's in a specialized speech pathology program ... and it would be basically impossible for her to finish it and play, so she decided to go ahead and stay in that program."
Eyeing an MIAA championship
The FHSU women enter the second-to-last week of the regular season in a three-way tie for first place atop the MIAA standings with Central Missouri and Nebraska-Kearney.
"I think we've worked our way into a good position. A position where we kind of control our own destiny," Hobson said. "Something's got to give these last two weeks because the top three (teams) are all playing each other. There's going to be a lot decided this week, but then there's going to be two more tough road games for us (at Missouri Western and Northwest Missouri) to finish out the season.
"It's an important week. I like where we're at; I would like it a lot better if we hadn't lost one of our top players to an injury (Cydney Bergmann), but that's where we're at right now."
Bergmann has been ruled out this week after suffering a knee injury this past Saturday at Northeastern State.
With Saturday's showdown against Central Missouri looming, Hobson is directing his team to keep attention on the task at hand on Thursday against Lincoln (1-17).
"They play really hard, evidenced by their game (at) Emporia last week," Hobson said of the Blue Tigers. "They played them defensively about as well as anyone plays Emporia, right on top of them and played them to within six (92-86).
"A team that you just don't want to overlook because they're athletic enough to make you look silly if you're not ready."