HAYS, Kan. - The No. 8 Fort Hays State women's basketball team took over sole possession of first place in the MIAA after fending off No. 16 Central Missouri 72-63 Saturday afternoon at Gross Coliseum. The Tigers (18-2, 18-2 MIAA) are hold a one-game lead over UCM and No. 12 Nebraska-Kearney with two games remaining in the regular season.
Fort Hays State shook off a slow start, hitting nearly 50 percent from the floor over the final three periods after shooting just 20 percent from the floor over the first 10 minutes.
Central Missouri (17-3, 17-3 MIAA) built a 10-point lead early in the second quarter but the Tigers answered with a 19-5 run including 13 consecutive points that turned a nine-point deficit into a four-point lead in less than three minutes.
Fort Hays State led 33-29 at the half but were outscored by four in the third quarter, knotting the game at 49-all entering the final frame.
The Tigers scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter to go up eight and never led by less than six the rest of the way.
Jaden Hobbs led the way with 16 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds for her third double-double of the season. Whitney Randall added 15 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Katie Wagner came off the bench to score 12 points, four rebounds and one assists, while Jessie Sallach added 10 points, five rebounds, one steal and one block.
Fort Hays State turned the ball over a season-low five times while forcing 13 Jennie miscues. The Tigers finished the game shooting 41.4 percent from the floor (24-of-58) while holding the Jennies to a 34.4 percent effort from the floor (22-of-64).
The Tigers are now 10-1 at home this season, reaching double figures in wins for the 11th-straight season. The 10-point comeback is tied for the largest deficit overcome by the Tigers this season.
Fort Hays State wraps up the regular season next week at Missouri Western on Thursday (Feb. 25) beginning at 5:30 p.m. before facing off with Northwest Missouri State Saturday beginning at 1:30 p.m. The Tigers would secure at least a share of the regular season conference championship with one victory over the final two games.
FHSU Sports Information contributed to this story