FHSU Sports Information Department

HAYS, Kan. – The Fort Hays State women’s basketball team advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2017 MIAA Tournament with an 83-46 dismantling of Missouri Southern Tuesday evening in Hays (Feb. 28). It is the sixth-straight season the Tigers have qualified for the quarterfinals in Kansas City, Mo.

The Tigers improved to 22-7 this season after their third-straight win, while Missouri Southern closes the season 12-17 overall. The 37-point spread was the largest margin of victory for the Tigers in their MIAA Tournament history.

Fort Hays State limited the Lions to just 13 field goals, tied for the fewest in an MIAA Tournament game all-time. The Tigers, on the other hand, seemingly couldn’t miss, knocking down 51.7 percent (30-of-58) from the floor on the day and a white-hot 10-of-16 in the first quarter (62.5 percent).

Nikola Kacperska was lights-out in the first half, drilling a career-best six three-pointers on eight attempts. Although the senior missed all three of her shots in the second half, she still led all scorers with 18 points while dishing out four assists. Madison Mittie matched her personal-best with three long-range buckets, scoring 15 points. Jill Faxon contributed 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting. Taylor Chandler led the team with six rebounds while adding five points.

The Tigers never trailed in the contest, taking a 3-0 lead 31 seconds into the contest after Kacperska drilled her first three-pointer of the night. Fort Hays State scored the first eight points of the game, setting the tone for the evening. Another triple from the senior put the Tigers up by double-figures for the rest of the night with 2:17 left in the quarter, 19-8.

After holding the Lions to just 10 points and three field goals in the opening quarter, there wasn’t much room for improvement for the FHSU defense. But the Tigers took it to another level in the second period, limiting MSSU to just six points on a pair of field goals and two free throws. The Lions didn’t make a shot from the floor for nearly 10 minutes spanning the final 2:46 of the first quarter and the first seven-plus minutes of the second. Fort Hays State used an 18-2 run over that span to build the lead to 25, 35-10. Missouri Southern scored its first point in the second quarter with 2:50 remaining before halftime.

The onslaught continued in the second half, with the Tigers taking control every step of the way. Each time the Lions made a small run, a Tiger stepped up and hit a shot to take back the momentum. The Lions scored five quick points before Kacey Kennett drilled a three-pointer and Faxon dropped in a layup. A 6-2 run for the visitors was answered by a three-pointer from Mittie and a layup from Sarah Pimentel.

The longest Lion run came at the start of the fourth quarter when they scored eight-straight, narrowing the deficit from 36 to 28. Mittie and Faxon responded with buckets in the lane before Pimentel drilled a three-pointer from the left wing, expanding the lead back to 74-39. The final five points of the evening belonged to Rachel Doll, who hit a pull-up jumper before nailing a three-pointer with less than a minute remaining to give the Tigers their largest lead of the night, 83-45.

The Tigers will now meet up with eighth-ranked Emporia State in the quarterfinals of the MIAA Tournament Friday (March 3) at noon inside Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo.

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