Senior guard Sophia Lenard shoots over a FHSU defender Thursday night during the first round of the MIAA Tournament. The Hornets beat the Tigers 72-66.
After a rough start, the Emporia State women’s basketball team was able to pull together and defeat Ft. Hays State 72-66 in the first round of MIAA Tournament action.
A trio of three-pointers late in the game from senior guard Jamie Augustyn led the Hornets to come back from a large deficit.
“I just did what I do,” Augustyn said. “My teammates did a really good job of finding me open, so I just shot it.”
Freshman guard Jocelyn Cummings was the first to score for the Hornets on a slashing move to the basket. With just over 17:30 to play in the first half, the Hornets found themselves down 3-7 thanks to a pivotal Ft. Hays three-pointer.
The first media timeout of the half stopped the action at the 15:56 mark with ESU trailing the Tigers 5-7. Following the timeout, the Tigers went on a 4-0 run until senior guard Sophia Lenard made a basket in the paint.
Another media timeout saw the Hornets still trailing Ft. Hays State, 9-15, with 11:20 remaining in the half.
ESU Coach Brandon Schneider was forced to call a timeout when the Tigers’ lead extended to 11 with 8:09 left in the half.
Senior guard Lacy Corker made a three-pointer following the timeout, cutting Ft. Hays State’s lead to eight, 12-20. Two straight treys from Ft. Hays’ Naomi Bancroft put the Hornets behind by 14 with just over six minutes to play in the half. The final timeout on the floor of the half saw the Tigers with a 29-17 lead over Emporia State with 3:27 remaining.
Senior guard Lacy Corker puts up a 3 point shot Thursday night in Kansas City.
A well executed offensive play by the Hornets saw Cummings take it to the rim and score, cutting the lead to 10. A pair of free throws from Lenard and a slashing basket by Boston saw the Hornets pull within six of Ft. Hays’ lead, 23-29, with just over a minute to play in the opening period.
A three-pointer from the Tigers gave them a nine point cushion going into halftime with a 32-23 lead over ESU.
Schneider said that Hays’ effort in the first half proved to be formidable.
“In the first half, Hays was really good,” Schneider said. “I really felt like the difference between the two halves (was) Hays’ seniors played like they wanted to play another game. They out-competed our seniors.”
Boston led the Hornets in their comeback effort with seven early second half points. A timeout on the floor stopped the action at the 11:33 mark with the Hornets trailing the Tigers 38-47.
Augustyn sparked the comeback by the Hornets, who cut the Tigers lead to four at 43-47 with just under 10 minutes to play. Junior forward Alli Volkens followed up Augustyn’s basket with one of her own on the low block, setting the score to 47-45 in favor of FHSU. Another three-pointer from Augustyn that led the Hornets to within one of the Tigers’ lead, 48-49, led to a timeout by Ft. Hays Coach Tony Hobson.
Senior guard Cassondra Boston attacks the FHSU defense Thursday night in the first round of the MIAA Tournament.
Following the timeout, ESU finally took the lead thanks to yet another Augustyn three-pointer. The Hornets went on a 7-2 run after the timeout by Ft. Hays, bringing the score to 55-51 in favor of Emporia State with just over five minutes remaining in the contest.
Boston said that it was at this point the seniors realized it was time to step up.
“We knew we had to pick it up right then and there,” Boston said. “I just kept stressing that every possession mattered. We couldn’t take any possessions off.”
Ft. Hays went on a small run of their own to tie the game up at 55 with 4:08 left to play.
The final media timeout saw ESU leading FHSU 58-57 at the 3:37 mark.
A myriad of lead changes occurred in the final few minutes of the game until a hard earned basket on the low block by Volkens stretched the Hornets’ lead to three, 66-63, with 1:04 remaining in the half.
Following a FHSU timeout, a trip to the charity stripe for Boston led to two more points, extending their lead to five, 68-63 with under a minute to play.
Boston gave the Hornets four more free throw points as the team left the court with a victory over the Tigers, 72-66.
Boston led all scorers with 23 on 6 of 18 shooting. Augustyn chipped in 11 points, while Volkens and senior guard Lacy Corker added 10 points each.
The Hornets will now face Central Missouri in the semifinals of the MIAA Tournament. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:15 on March 6 at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo.