Tigers back in action Friday and Saturday

By Randy Gonzales
Special to Hays Daily News

The Fort Hays State University women’s basketball team has been hurt by key injuries in recent seasons, so when standout senior point guard Jaden Hobbs limped off the court during the Tigers’ game on Saturday, there was some trepidation.

“”Your heart skips a beat,” FHSU coach Tony Hobson said.

Hobson said Tuesday that x-rays came back negative and that Hobbs has a bad ankle sprain. Fourth-ranked FHSU has two home games this weekend in Gross Memorial Coliseum, 6 p.m Friday against St. Cloud (Minn.) State and 4 p.m. Saturday against Cameron (Okla.).

“I would say she would be doubtful for this weekend, and probably next week, our Tuesday game,” Hobson said.

FHSU is at home Tuesday against Sterling College before opening MIAA play the following week, Dec. 1 at Washburn.

“Hopefully we can get her back in time for conference that following Wednesday,” Hobson said. “That’s kind of what we’re hoping for.”

Hobson was encouraged by how his players responded when Hobbs went down on a drive to the basket four minutes into the Tigers’ game against Sioux Falls (S.D.) at a tournament in St. Joseph, Mo.

“I saw a little resiliency in my team by how they did react,” Hobson said. “They didn’t panic.”

The Tigers went on to defeat Sioux Falls 82-73, with freshman guard Katie Wagner scoring 26 points and grabbing 15 rebounds, both a career high. In the season-opening 81-65 win over Southeastern Oklahoma State the night before, Wagner scored 23 points and pulled down nine rebounds.

“We saw flashes last year,” Hobson said. “She’s super hyper-competitive and she has a motor.”

Hobson said the Tigers will face a tough test in St. Cloud State, which returns all five starters. The Huskies will be in their season opener.

“It’s going to be a real battle for us on Friday, I think,” Hobson said. “We’re going to have to play maybe a little over our heads.”

Cameron beat a pair of RMAC teams to start the season, then the Aggies won 91-71 over Midwestern State (Texas) on Tuesday. Cameron plays Newman on Friday in GMC before taking on the Tigers the following day. The Aggies are not as big as St. Cloud State, but will be aggressive on defense.

“Saturday with Cameron, we’re looking at a team that plays really hard and is scrappy,” Hobson said. “They will press us.”

In addition to likely missing Hobbs – a returning All-America selection – the Tigers still are without two key players hurt last season and are still recovering.

“Both games will be a challenge,” Hobson said. “We’re a little thinner now than we were, so two games back-to-back is always an issue.”