No. 2/5 Fort Hays State (13-1, 7-1 MIAA) vs.
Northwest Missouri State (11-2, 6-1 MIAA)
Wednesday, January 12 • 5:30 p.m.
Hays, Kan. • Gross Memorial Coliseum
Radio: KJLS (103.3-FM)
Game Sponsor: American Family Insurance - Brian Ruder Agency
National Anthem: Joyful Noise (TMP)
Promotions: Mascot Night & FHSU Men's Basketball Camper Appreciation
Halftime Performances: Tiger Debs & Mascots
Two top teams in the MIAA standings will face off Wednesday (Jan. 12) when the second-ranked Fort Hays State women's basketball team hosts Northwest Missouri State beginning at 5:30 p.m.
The Tigers (13-1, 7-1 MIAA) enter the week tied for first in the league standings with No. 16 Nebraska-Kearney, while the Bearcats (11-2, 6-1 MIAA) are just one-half game behind FHSU and UNK. Neither team has lost in nearly one month, with the Tigers riding a six-game winning streak and the Bearcats winners of their last four outings.
After totaling a season-high 29 assists against Lincoln and turning the ball over just nine times, the Tigers raised their assist/turnover ratio to a Division II-best 1.49. FHSU is third nationally in assists (18.1 per game) and ninth in turnovers (12.1 per game). The Tigers have tallied at least 20 assists in each of their last five games while turning the ball over fewer than 10 times in four of those five contests.
A win Wednesday would be Tony Hobson's 296th win at Fort Hays State, moving him into a tie for fifth amongst MIAA head coaches with Steve High (PSU, 1990-07).
The Tigers moved up to second in this week's WBCA DII Coaches Poll. It's just the second time the Tigers have been ranked No. 2 during the DII era. FHSU is 0-1 all-time as the second-ranked team. Fort Hays State has now occupied each spot in the top five of the coaches poll at some point this season. FHSU is one of two schools that has been in the top five all year (Drury).
Jaden Hobbs averages 17.3 points and 6.7 assists in her career against Northwest (three games), including one double-double. Olivia Hollenbeck (13.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg in 2 games), Jessie Sallach (11.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg in 2 games) and Whitney Randall (10.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg in 5 games) also average in double figures against the Bearcats.
The Tigers have been virtually unbeatable at home over the last 10 seasons, accumulating a 141-11 record inside Gross Memorial Coliseum since the start of the 2012-13 season (.928 winning percentage).
Fort Hays State is 17-10 all-time against Northwest Missouri State, including wins in the last five matchups and 13 of the last 14 meetings. The Tigers are 10-2 at home against the Bearcats, including wins in each of the last 10 matchups in Hays. The last NWMSU win in Hays occurred 15 years ago (12/30/2006). The Tigers are 15-4 against Northwest under Hobson, including a 9-0 mark in Hays.
Northwest Missouri State leads the MIAA and ranks 13th in Division II with a defense that allows just 53.1 points per game. The Bearcats also lead the league in blocks with 3.8 per game while ranking 11th in DII with just 12.2 times per game. Mallory McConkey leads the Bearcats with an average of 12.4 points per game, while Jayna Green grabs a team-high 32 rebounds per night. Molly Hartnett leads NWMSU with 2.5 assists per contest. Picked ninth in the preseason coaches poll, Northwest is currently tied for third in the MIAA standings.
Megan Earney will be playing against four Bearcats that also graduated from Waukee High School, while Lauren West is facing off with one former teammate at Millard North.