HAYS — For the second time in program history, the Fort Hays State women’s basketball team is headed to the NCAA Division II Central Regional championship game.
The Tigers held off a late charge from Minnesota State-Moorhead and put away the Dragons down the stretch to claim a 71-60 victory on Saturday night at Gross Memorial Coliseum.
In a battle of teams with identical 32-1 records, FHSU will face Southwestern Oklahoma State in the final after the Bulldogs advanced with a 75-72 win over Central Missouri on the strength of a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Taber Beer. Game time is set for Monday at 7 p.m. at Gross Coliseum.
The winner of Monday’s game will play in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight in Columbus, Ohio, starting March 26.
The Tigers led Minnesota State-Moorhead by 14 in the third quarter after back-to-back 3-pointers from Madison Mittie and Kacey Kennett, but the Dragons sliced the deficit down to seven by the end of the third frame.
The lead was cut to three on two occasions early in the fourth but FHSU gained some breathing room on a 6-0 run fueled by buckets from Taylor Rolfs, Kennett and Belle Barbieri.
Tatyana Legette scored a game-high 21 points for the Tigers. She was joined in double figures by Kennett (13), Barbieri (12) and Lanie Page (10). Barbieri also had 10 rebounds for Fort Hays.