#4 Fort Hays State (4-0, 0-0 MIAA) vs.
#8 Sterling (6-0, 2-0 KCAC)
Tuesday, November 23, 2021 • 5:30 p.m.
Gross Memorial Coliseum • Hays, Kan.
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Before opening MIAA play next week, the No. 4 Fort Hays State women's basketball team plays one final non-conference tune-up Tuesday (Nov. 23) when the Tigers host NAIA powerhouse Sterling College. Tip-off in the opening game of the first men's and women's doubleheader of the season is slated for 5:30 p.m. inside Gross Memorial Coliseum. The matchup will be an exhibition contest for the visitors, but will be an official game for Fort Hays State.
The Tigers (4-0) and Lady Warriors (6-0) are both off to strong starts this season. Fort Hays State is averaging 76.5 points per game and beating teams by an average of 9.5 points per night, while Sterling has scored 86.3 points per game so far this season and is outscoring its opponents by an average of 18.8 points per contest. The Lady Warriors are currently ranked eighth in the latest NAIA coaches poll.
A win Tuesday would be head coach Tony Hobson's 700th career victory as a collegiate head coach. Now in his 30th season at the college level, Hobson has won at least 20 games in 23 different seasons, including eight years with at least 30 wins in a single season. He is the all-time winningest coach at Fort Hays State. His winning percentage of .774 (497-145) at four-year institutions ranks 32nd among all active coaches at the NCAA level and is ninth-best at the Division II level.
Fort Hays State picked up a pair of solid wins against tough regional opponents over the weekend, beating St. Cloud State 58-51 before holding off Cameron, 85-79. The Tigers have now won 47 consecutive non-conference, regular season contests. FHSU is 61-2 in such contests under Hobson, while the Tigers are now 67-5 in the month of November during the Hobson era.
After recording the first 15 point/15 rebound game for a Tiger in almost four years during the opening weekend, Katie Wagner accomplished the feat again just eight days later with 22 points and 15 rebounds in the win over Cameron. She ranks fourth in the MIAA in scoring (19.8 ppg), first in rebounding (13.0 rpg), fifth in field-goal percentage (53.1 percent) and 13th in assists (2.8 apg).
Lauren West posted the best offensive performance of her collegiate career on Saturday, burying a trio of 3-pointers and hitting 7-of-8 from the charity stripe to lead the team with 24 points. She was the third different Tiger to lead the team in scoring through the first four contests.
Four different Tigers are averaging in double figures in scoring, including Wagner, West (12.8 ppg), Olivia Hollenbeck (10.8 ppg) and Whitney Randall (10.0 ppg).
The Tigers are 8-3 all-time against Sterling, including wins in the last six meetings. FHSU is 5-1 against the Lady Warriors in Hays and 3-0 during the Hobson era. Per FHSU records, the three Lady Warrior victories in the series are by a combined four points (33-11 in 1970-71, 39-38 in 1970-71, 37-36 in 1972-73).
The Lady Warriors are off to a 6-0 start this season after going 30-1 a year ago, including 30-straight wins leading up to the NAIA Round of 16. Returning All-American Bailey Albright ranks fourth in the country in NAIA with an average of 25.7 ppg. Sterling ranks 10th in NAIA with an average of 86.3 points per game, first with 22.8 free throws made per game, second with a free-throw percentage of 82.5 percent and 21st with a field-goal percentage of 45.7 percent. Head coach K.C. Bassett, now in her eight season at Sterling, has led the Lady Warriors to the NAIA tournament each of the last three years. Bassett is 147-78 in her time at Sterling.