Jan 04, 2020 3:30 PM

No. 16 FHSU women's basketball hosts Lions to open new year

Posted Jan 04, 2020 3:30 PM
Courtesy FHSU Athletics / Allie Schweizer photo
Courtesy FHSU Athletics / Allie Schweizer photo

The Fort Hays State women's basketball team returns to action for the first time in 16 days Saturday (Jan. 4) when the No. 16 Tigers host conference foe Missouri Southern. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. inside Gross Memorial Coliseum.

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Both teams are in a similar spot in the league standings, entering Saturday with an 0-2 conference record and searching for their first league win. The Tigers head into the contest 9-2 overall, while the Lions enter 2020 with a 3-7 record.

The Tigers and Lions are coming off non-conference victories in their most recent action more than two weeks ago. FHSU defeated Bethany College (Dec. 11) in its last home game before picking up big wins over regional foe Harding (Dec. 18) and No. 6 Saint Anselm (Dec. 19) in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Missouri Southern, meanwhile, defeated Oklahoma Wesleyan in its most recent contest (Dec. 17).

Fort Hays State is 33-18 all-time against Missouri Southern, including wins in 12 of the last 14 matchups. The Tigers have dominated at home, winning 22 of 26 contests in Hays and seven straight. Fort Hays State is 14-6 overall and 9-1 at home against MSSU under head coach Tony Hobson.

Kacey Kennett averages 12.2 points per game in five meetings with Missouri Southern, including 12 or more points in each of the last three games. Belle Barbieri puts up 10.5 points and 7.8 rebounds in four games against the Lions, including a career-high 21 points last season in Joplin. Whitney Randall scored 10 points in both meetings last season. Madison Mittie averaged 14.5 points per game in two meetings against the Lions during her freshman season.

The Tigers continue to lead the nation in turnovers, giving the ball away just 9.6 times per game. FHSU forced 19 turnovers against both Harding and No. 6 Saint Anselm in Florida, while turning the ball over just 18 times in those two games combined (12 vs HU, 6 vs StA).

Junior guard Jaden Hobbs has been a big contributing factor to Fort Hays State's high rate of ball control, ranking third in the country with an assist/turnover ratio of 3.07. The Alva, Okla. native has dished out 46 assists through the first 11 games, while turning the ball over just 15 times.

The Lions score 72.6 points per night, ranked eighth in the MIAA. They give up the second-most points in the league, surrendering 70.3 points per contest. MSSU leads the league in blocked shots, ranking third in the nation with 6.6 blocks each game. They make 5.6 steals per contest, ranked 292nd out of 304 DII programs. MSSU ranks third in the conference with 41.6 rebounds per game.

MSSU is led by a trio of upperclassmen averaging at least 13 points per game. Senior Chasidee Owens leads the team and ranks ninth in the MIAA with an average of 15.6 points per game, with fellow senior Destiny Cozart close behind at 15.4 ppg. Junior Zoe Campbell adds 13.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per contest while leading the league and ranking fourth nationally with 3.6 blocks per game. Amber Buch leads the team and sits in eighth in the MIAA with 3.2 assists each night.

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Jan 04, 2020 3:30 PM
Tigers host No. 18 Missouri Southern in first game of new year
Courtesy FHSU Athletics / Ryan Prickett photo

FHSU Sports Information

Fort Hays State Men's Basketball prepares for its first MIAA home contest of the season on Saturday against No. 18 ranked Missouri Southern. Tipoff is at 4 pm, following the women's contest at 2 pm. The Tigers are looking for a second-straight home win over a nationally ranked opponent. FHSU enters at 6-4 overall and 0-2 in the MIAA, while the Lions are 9-2 overall and 2-0 in MIAA play.

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The Tigers are 3-0 at home so far this season, outscoring its opposition by an average of 39.0 points per game inside Gross Memorial Coliseum. All three of those contests were against NAIA opponents, which included Sterling College, Bethel College, and Avila University. Now the Tigers prepare for the grind of MIAA play, which makes up 17 of their 18 remaining games. A rescheduled non-conference home date with Kansas Wesleyan on January 27 is the only interruption from MIAA play the rest of the way this season.

Fort Hays State looks for its first conference win of the year after road losses at Nebraska-Kearney and Emporia State back in early December. The Tigers are looking for two wins in a row over nationally ranked opponents at home, and coincidentally against the same opponent. FHSU defeated a No. 25 ranked Missouri Southern team in Gross Memorial Coliseum last year by a score of 89-84 on February 28, 2019 in the second-to-last home game of the season. FHSU has won five straight contests against Missouri Southern inside Gross Memorial Coliseum dating back to the 2012-13 season. The last win for MSSU in the coliseum occurred during the 2011-12 season when it held a ranking of No. 14 in the nation.

Four of the five FHSU starters average more than 10 points per game, led by Devin Davis at 12.2. Jake Hutchings is right behind at 12.0, while Jared Vitztum leads the team in rebounds at 8.0 per game, while chipping in 11 points per game. Nyjee Wright leads in assists at 2.2 per game, while adding 10.6 points per contest. Alvin Thompson is the top scorer off the bench for FHSU at 7.3 points per game, shooting an efficient 55.8 percent from the field and 56.3 percent beyond the 3-point line.

Missouri Southern counters with All-America forward Cam Martin, who averages 22.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. He earned All-America honors and a first-team All-MIAA selection as a sophomore last year. The Lions are ranked No. 18 in both the NABC (coaches) and D2SIDA (media) national polls.