For coach Tony Hobson and the Fort Hays State University Tigers women’s basketball team, home court advantage could mean the difference between not only a win and a loss, but also making the NCAA Division II tournament.
“We need to protect our home court,” Hobson said.
The Tigers have played five of their last six games on the road. In that stretch, they went 2-4, the last game resulting in a 45-50 loss to nationally-ranked Washburn University.
FHSU finished the game with a field goal percentage of 26. Senior Erica Biel led the Tigers in scoring with 15 points and was one of only two players to shoot at least 50 percent from the field. Freshman Traci Keyser, who has moved into the starting line-up in the last two weeks, was a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line and continues to progress into a legitimate scorer for the team. She tied her career high with 14 points.
The game set FHSU to a 15-6 overall and 8-6 in the conference. The Tigers begin a two-game home stretch tonight against Truman. FHSU is ranked fourth in the conference while Truman is last with a 2-13 in-conference record and a 7-15 overall record and is also on a four game losing streak.
The Tigers are 5-1 in conference games at home while Truman is 0-7 on the road. FHSU is still ranked seventh in the South Central Regional poll. Hobson said at the beginning of the second half of conference play, the team needs to go 7-3 during that stretch to get a tournament bid. They have gone 2-2 during four games and likely must win the next two home games to keep their tournament hopes alive.
“I think we need to win all of them right now,” Hobson said.
Following the game against Truman tonight, the Tigers will host Central Missouri on Saturday. Central Missouri is ranked fifth in the MIAA with an overall record of 12-9 and a conference record of 8-6 and is coming off a win against conference leader Emporia State.
Four of the last six regular season games will be at home for the Tigers. Fans are encouraged to attend and help the Tigers in their push for post-season play.
“We just need to have some enthusiasm and play at our home,” Keyser said.