Missouri Southern (9-13, 9-13 MIAA) at
#5 Fort Hays State (20-2, 20-2 MIAA)
MIAA Championship Tournament, presented by Citizens Bank & Trust
Wednesday, March 3, 2021 • 6 p.m.
Hays, Kan. • Gross Memorial Coliseum
Radio: KJLS (103.3-FM)
The fifth-ranked Fort Hays State women's basketball team opens postseason play on Wednesday when the Tigers host eighth-seeded Missouri Southern in the quarterfinal round of the 2021 MIAA Championship Tournament, presented by Citizens Bank & Trust. First tip is set for 6 p.m. inside Gross Memorial Coliseum.
Upper-level general admission tickets are still available for $10 for adults and $5 for youth K-12 and seniors. Seating is still limited to 25 percent capacity and fans are required to maintain FHSU health and safety protocols.
FHSU students will get in free when they present a valid Tiger Card to the ticket booth at gate 2.
Fans wishing to watch from home can do so on The MIAA Network. MIAA Championship passes are available for $25 and will be valid for all games in both the men's and women's tournaments. Fans that purchased season-long access to the network will automatically have access to all tournament games.
The Tigers wrapped up the regular season with a 20-2 record, reaching the 20-win plateau for the 10th season in a row and the 18th time in program history. Fort Hays State was the only school in Division II to reach 20 wins during the regular season. With the entire season consisting of 22 conference contests, that mark also tied the MIAA record for league victories in a single season (MWSU, 2015-16).
Fort Hays State is 14-10 all-time in the MIAA Championship Tournament, including a 3-0 record against Missouri Southern. The Tigers have played three MIAA tournament games in Hays in the past, all coming in the first round when 12 teams advanced to the tournament. FHSU won all three of those games. The Tigers are 7-4 all-time in the quarterfinal round and 5-1 all-time as the top overall seed. This is the first time FHSU has played a No. 8 seed in the MIAA tournament.
In addition to finishing on top of the MIAA standings for the third time, Fort Hays State led the league in five statistical categories, including assist/turnover ratio at 1.40, total assists with 361, assists per game at 16.4, field goal percentage at 44.3 and scoring margin at +14.4. The Tigers rank fifth nationally in both assist/turnover ratio and assists.
Whitney Randall led the Tigers in scoring during the regular season, averaging 16.0 points per night, good for seventh in the MIAA and among the top 100 in Division II. Her 130 made field goals rank 21st in the country. She scored in double figures in all but two games this season. The Alva, Okla. native has scored 996 points in her Tiger career, just four away from becoming the 22nd Tiger to ever reach 1,000 career points. It would be the third consecutive season a Tiger reached that milestone after Kacey Kennett in 2019-20 and Tatyana Legette in 2018-19.
Jaden Hobbs leads the conference and is among the leaders in the country in assists, dishing out an average of 6.0 assists every game, 11th-most in Division II. She is on pace to break the school record in average assists (5.4). She ranks third in the country in both total assists (133) and assist/turnover ratio (3.33). The senior guard is second on the team in scoring, putting up 14.6 points per game. She also ranks second nationally in 3-pointers made, drilling 59 during the regular season, an average of 2.7 per game. She went over 1,000 points for her collegiate career in the regular season finale at Northwest Missouri State and needs just one point to eclipse 700 points in two seasons as a Tiger.
Madison Mittie has played a huge role for the Tigers, serving as one of the first players off the bench for much of the season before stepping into the starting lineup down the stretch. The Tigers are undefeated with Mittie in the starting lineup this season. The senior averages 4.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.1 3-pointers per night.
Freshmen have played a crucial role for the Tigers all year long, playing 43.2 percent of the minutes (1899:28) and scoring 42.3 percent of the points for FHSU (30.7 ppg). Olivia Hollenbeck scores 9.0 points per game while adding 1.9 blocks per game, fourth-most in the MIAA. Katie Wagner contributes 8.6 points and a team-high 6.4 rebounds per game in addition to 2.1 assists each night, second best behind Hobbs. Jessie Sallach averages 6.0 points per night, including scoring in double figures in each of the last three games of the regular season.
Fort Hays State ended the regular season on a 15-game winning streak, tied for the fourth-longest streak in program history.
The Tigers are 35-18 all-time against Missouri Southern, including a dominant 23-4 edge in games played in Hays. Fort Hays State has not lost at home to the Lions since 2011, winning each of the last eight home games in the series. The Tigers have won six in a row overall and 11 of the last 12. Fort Hays State 16-6 against the Lions under Hobson, including a 10-1 record at home.
These teams have met three times in the MIAA Championship Tournament, with the Tigers coming away victorious each time. One of those games was played inside Gross Memorial Coliseum, an 83-46 Tiger victory in the opening round of the 2017 MIAA tournament.
Missouri Southern finished the regular season 9-13 after winning its final two games to get into the postseason tournament. They rank eighth in the league in scoring offense (63.4 ppg) and 11th in scoring defense (68.1 ppg). The Lions are last in the league in turnover margin at -2.77 while they rank second in the league with 4.14 blocks each game. Madi Stokes is the only player in the MIAA averaging a double-double, scoring 10.5 points alongside 10.7 rebounds each night. Carley Turnbull leads the team with an average of 13.7 points per contest while Biance Stocks dishes out a team-best 2.2 assists each game.
If the Tigers were to win Wednesday, FHSU would then host the semifinal and championship rounds of the MIAA Championship Tournament on Saturday and Sunday (March 6-7), respectively. Game times are to determined for those contests. Tickets for the weekend games would go on sale to season ticket holders Thursday morning and to the general public on Friday.