ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – The Fort Hays State women’s basketball team raced out to a 17-point second quarter lead then had to hold on as Minnesota Duluth pulled within four late in the Tigers 59-51 win in the season opener for both in the opening game of the Hillyard Tip-Off Classic at the St. Joseph Civic Arena.
The Tigers saw their 15-point halftime lead trimmed to 11 after three quarters. The Bulldogs used an 8-0 run over the third and fourth quarters to pull within eight early in the fourth.
Taylor Rolfs hit a left corner three to push the lead to nine with 1:35 to play but UMD scored five quick points to get within four with under a minute play.
After missing their first six free throws in the final period, FHSU made their final four to seal the win.
The Tigers won despite turning the ball over 20 times. The Bulldogs had 19 turnovers. A year ago UMD committed the fewest turnovers in Division II and the Tigers had their third fewest.
Lanie Page scored 14 points and pulled down five rebounds to lead the Tigers. Belle Barbiere scored nine while grabbing a career-best 14 rebounds. Rolfs and Whitney Randall both added eight points.
Brooke Olson led UMD, who lost in the first round of the NCAA II Central Regional in Hays a year ago, with 14 points. Payton Kahl added 11.
The Tigers play Concordia-St, Paul Saturday at 2 p.m. in St. Joseph. The game can be heard on Kay (94.3-fm, 1400-AM).