EMPORIA, Kan. - A dominant second half helped the Fort Hays State women's basketball team hand Emporia State its eighth-straight loss Sunday afternoon, 77-68. The Tigers (15-6, 10-3 MIAA) trailed by as many as 14 in the first half before outscoring the Lady Hornets (9-10, 4-9 MIAA) 45-28 after halftime to complete the comeback. It was the largest deficit overcome by the Tigers this season.
The Tigers hit just 14 percent from the floor in the first quarter (3-of-21) while ESU seemingly couldn't miss, knocking down 7-of-13 to lead 25-11 after 10 minutes. The Tigers scored seven-straight to close within six midway through the second quarter before ESU scored the next six points to push the lead back to 12.
Fort Hays State scored the final four points of the first half thanks to a Sydney Golladay 3-pointer and a free throw from Katie Wagner before the Tigers kept things rolling in the second half. By the time the dust settled, the Tigers outscored ESU by 21 over the final 20 minutes and 25 seconds, 49-28.
Wagner was a key contributor in the third quarter, scoring 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting while grabbing six rebounds. The sophomore twice helped the Tigers close within one possession before a Megan Earney 3-pointer gave the Tigers a 49-48 lead with 2:07 to play in the quarter. ESU momentarily regained the lead on the following possession before Wagner scored the final four points of the quarter, giving the Tigers a 53-50 edge entering the final frame.
The Tigers kept things rolling in the fourth quarter, scoring the first five points before leading by as many as 10 late in the game. Golladay and Earney both hit 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, while the Tigers combined to hit 9-of-11 from the free-throw line down the stretch to secure the victory.
Wagner finished the contest with 21 points and 12 rebounds, collecting her sixth double-double of the season and her third double-double in four career games against Emporia State. Olivia Hollenbeck added 20 points, giving the Tigers multiple players with 20 or more points for the second time this season.
Earney and Golladay both scored 11 points thanks to a trio of 3-pointers and two free throws, with Golladay pacing the team with six assists. Tre'Zure Jobe led all scorers with 26 points for the Hornets.
Fort Hays State dominated on the glass, outrebounding the Hornets by 15, 48-33. It was FHSU's second-largest rebounding margin of the season (plus-19 against Rogers State). The Tigers collected a whopping 24 offensive rebounds, their most in a game since 2021 (26 vs Cameron, 11/20/21). After ESU entered the game ranked ninth in the country in turnover margin, FHSU controlled the ball well all afternoon, turning the ball over just nine times compared to 11 Lady Hornet miscues.
The Tigers will return home for a critical contest against Missouri Western on Thursday (Jan 26, 5:30 p.m.). FHSU will look to complete the season sweep of the Griffons after beating MWSU on the road last month, 64-58.