After the first round of Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association play, Fort Hays State University women’s basketball coach Tony Hobson said he really wanted to have won seven conference games.
His team had the opportunity to do so last night at No. 6 Emporia State University, but the Hornets proved to be too much, handing the Tigers their worst loss of the season 88-67.
FHSU dropped to 13-4 and 6-4 in the MIAA, while ESU advanced to 16-1 and 9-1 in the MIAA.
FHSU stuck with ESU for a majority of the first half, and even brought the score within one at halftime after a spectacular last-second lobbed shot by senior guard Naomi Bancroft.
However, the second half was all ESU as the Hornets built the lead as high as 26 points.
“If you are not really paying attention, it can get away from you quickly,” Hobson said. “They push the ball very well on offense better than any team we have played so far.”
The Hornets dominated down low, out rebounding FHSU 56 to 36 and outscoring the FHSU in the paint 50 to 24.
“When you get out rebounded by 20, you are going to lose the game all the time unless you just have them so over managed that they can’t play with you,” Hobson said.
Bancroft led the team in scoring with 22 points off 7-of-18 shooting. It was Bancroft’s 10th game with 20 or more points in a game.
“Naomi is one of the best two if not the best player in the conference,” Hobson said. “She is getting so much attention that she shouldn’t get open shots. We just have to figure out a way to help her and Erica (Biel).”
Senior center Erica Biel and freshman forward Traci Keyser accounted for 11 points apiece, while junior Kara Champlin was the only other Tiger in double-digit scoring with 10 points.
The team shot 32.3 percent from the field and were especially horrendous in the second half, making only 9-of-34 shots and 1-of-11 shots from the 3-point line.
“Someone else has to step up and take a bit of ownership and not rely on one or two people to carry them while the rest stand and watch,” Hobson said. “When we do that, we are a pretty good team. When we don’t, then this can happen to you.”
The Tigers have the weekend off to prepare for the start of the second round of conference play against the University of Nebraska-Omaha on Wednesday in Gross Memorial Coliseum.
The tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
FHSU suffered its first loss at the hands of the Mavericks 68-62 on Dec. 5 in Omaha. In that game, only Bancroft and Biel reached double-digit scoring.
“We’ve got a two-game losing streak for the first time this year,” Hobson said. “We just need to snap out of it and get ready to play UNO. I’m kind of glad we have a bye, so that we have a week to get ready for them.”