No. 24 Fort Hays State used a strong defensive effort to stifle South Dakota Mines, 64-39, at home on Thursday evening.
FHSU (13-3, 6-3 MIAA) shot just 31.4 percent from the field, but overcame the cold shooting with 13 steals and 16 forced turnovers. SDSMT (6-12) started the game 0-of-13 from the field and couldn't recover, as the Tigers completed the non-conference portion of their schedule with a perfect 7-0 record.
Kate Lehman reached double-digits for the 12th time this season, leading the team with 14 points, while Jill Faxon hit on 5-of-6 free throws to finish with 10 points. Katelyn Edwards' nine points just missed the double-digit mark, but her 10 rebounds were a team-high. Edwards added five steals, matching Nikola Kacperska for the team-lead. Lehman's six blocks moved her into 18th in the NCAA Division II record book for career blocks, with 306. Edwards is now just seven rebounds shy of No. 600 for her career.
Four Tigers tied with six points individually - Keriann Shaw, Chelsea Mason, Kacperska and Alyssa Palmer. Palmer's came on 2-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc, while Shaw achieved her season-high on 3-of-9 shooting from the field.
Holding SDSMT scoreless for the opening 5:48, FHSU jumped out to a 9-0 lead. After extending the advantage to 15 (16-1) with 10:24 on the clock, the Lady 'Rockers scored four unanswered to bring the team near the 8-minute mark. The Tigers largest lead of the first half (19) came at the 4:13 mark, when Lehman hit a layup push FHSU ahead, 25-6.
After a SDSMT layup with just 13 seconds to go in the half, Kacperska sent the game to half by hitting a jumper from the top of the key as time expired. FHSU led, 32-15 at that point.
Out of the break, back-and-forth play put the Tigers up, 41-22, at 14:35. SDSMT, though, made a run at that point, scoring seven unanswered to shrink FHSU's lead to just 12 (41-29). Fort Hays State answered with an 8-0 run of its own, however, to regain control with 9:06 remaining, up 49-29.
With 5:14 to go in the game, Palmer hit a 3-pointer to spark the Tigers' final run of the evening, an 11-0 spurt that included five from Faxon.
The Fort Hays State men finished it's regular season non-conference slate perfect with an 84-69 win over South Dakota Mines on Thursday evening (Jan. 23) in Hays. FHSU ran its win streak to seven games and now sit at 15-3 overall.
The Tigers led the entire game, but felt a bit of pressure from the Hardrockers in the second half. Fort Hays State led by 16 with 2:38 to go in the first half, but South Dakota Mines closed the half on a 6-0 run to make it 41-31 in favor of FHSU at the break. A 12-5 run by the Hardrockers to open the second half trimmed the lead all the way down to three with 14:29 remaining in the game, but a pair of old fashioned three-point plays by Dwayne Brunson and Carson Konrade extended the lead back to nine. The Tigers pushed the lead into double figures for good with 12:31 remaining.
Craig Nicholson led the Tigers with 20 points and eight assists, going 8-of-11 from the field with four free-throws. Brunson finished with 17 points and tied for a team high in rebounds with Konrade, each with seven. James Fleming scored 14 points, Konrade added 13, and Tomislav Gabric had 10.
Michael Dietz and Trevor Zacher tied for high-point honors for South Dakota Mines, each with 14. Andrew Rebol added 11.
Fort Hays State shot 50.9 percent overall from the field, compared to 38 percent by South Dakota Mines. The Tigers, ranked second in the nation in free-throw shooting entering the night, had a bit of an off-night at the line hitting just 23-of-32 attempts (71.9 percent).