HAYS — A dominant output in the second quarter from the No. 1 Fort Hays State women proved to be the downfall for Pittsburg State Saturday at the Gross Memorial Colliseum.
A back-and-forth opening quarter saw Pitt State trail by five points after 10 minutes of play. The Tigers turned in a suffocating second period of play at both ends of the floor to build their lead to 20 points at the intermission. From there, it was just a matter of preserving the win, which Fort Hays did well as they finished off the Gorillas 77-57 when the final buzzer rang.
Fort Hays (11-1) outscored Pitt State (10-3) to the tune of 22-7 in the second quarter. The main factor in the effective output for the Tiger women was shooting better than 50 percent from the floor (16-30), while using strong defense to hold PSU to 33 percent shooting in the first 20 minutes of play.
The Gorillas were without sophomore shooting guard and leading scorer Mikaela Burgess for the second game in a row. Burgess took a hard fall in the Gorillas’ loss to Emporia State back on Dec. 19, where she hit the back of her head against the hardwood. She is expected to return to action soon.
PSU’s Cathy Brugman led all scorers with 17 points, making 7 of 11 from the field.
Haydn Herlocker was the only other PSU player to finish in double figures, putting up 11 points. She had a team-high six assists in the loss.
Brenlee McPherson had nine points for Pitt State.
Leading the Tigers in scoring was Chelsea Mason, who finished the game with 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting.
Jill Faxon had 13 points, while Beth Bohuslavesky finished out the win with 10 points for Fort Hays State.
Hays used a pair of double-digit runs to build their large lead in the second quarter.
Ten straight points to start the quarter from the Tigers put their lead at 29-14.
Mason had a 3-pointer and a layup in the run, while Faxon matched her with five points of her own in the same fashion.
A bucket inside from Brugman killed the drive, but minutes later, Fort Hays State was at it again.
A pair of baskets in the paint for the Tigers followed by consecutive jumpers by Mason stretched the FHS’ lead to 21 points, 39-18, with 2:47 to play.
Two free throws on the next Tiger possession put the lead at a half-high 23 point.
Pitt State closed the half with the final three points on a triple from Haydn Herlocker.
The Fort Hays State advantage hovered in double digits for the remainder of the contest.
Pitt State cut the lead to as low as 14 points in the final quarter, but the Gorillas would never get closer.
The Gorilla women are in action next at 5:30 p.m. Monday when they gave Nebraska-Kearney on a road contest.
Lucas Davis is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at email@example.com and follow him on twitter at @LDsportswriter.