Big night from Bancroft lifts Fort Hays over Lions, 73-68

Hays, Kan. - Naomi Bancroft exploded for 34 points and the Fort Hays State Lady Tigers pulled away in the second half for a 73-68 win over the Missouri Southern Lions Monday evening (Jan. 11) in Hays, Kan.

The Lions took a two-point lead into the half and a layup from Jasmine Lovejoy gave the Lions a five-point lead early in the second half, but Bancroft scored 11 points to spark a 15-6 outburt that put the Lady Tigers in front 46-42 with 13:44 remaining.

FHSU led 52-48 when Bancroft started a 9-0 run with a three and ended it with a pair of free throws for a 13-point advantage at the 9:04 mark of the second half.

A three-point play by Lovejoy and trey from Afton Baldwin helped the Lions claw to within five at 65-60 with still 6:37 left.

After Bancroft was fouled shooting a three and converted all three freebies for an eight-point lead, the Lions again made it a five-point game on a free-throw and a layup by Lovejoy with 4:53 left.

But the Lady Tigers again managed to pull away as Kelsie Sorenson split a pair at the foul line and Erica Biel hit a layup for a 71-63 lead at the 3:47 mark.

The Lions were unable to make much headway down the stretch as points became very hard to come by for both squads, as neither side was able to crack the scoreboard over the final 2:41.

Erin Rice scored the first points of the game on a layup to help Southern get off to a quick start and a 10-3 lead in the first seven minutes of the contest.

The Lions (9-6, 3-5 MIAA) led throughout the first half and again by seven at 32-25 before Kara McFarland nailed a three and Biel hit a layup to help the Lady Tigers close to within two at the half.

Rice tied her career-high with 14 points to lead the Lions. Lovejoy added 13 along with seven rebounds.

Bancroft led three Lady Tigers in double-figures on 10-of-23 overall from the field, 8-of-19 from three-point distance and 6-of-7 from the charity stripe. Traci Keyser scored 13 and Biel added 10 for FHSU (13-2, 6-2 MIAA).

The Lions put together a solid effort on the boards, out-rebounding the Lady Tigers 45-36 overall and 22-16 on the offensive glass.

Next up for the Lions is a home matchup with Nebraska-Omaha on Saturday afternoon (Jan. 16) at 1:30 p.m. inside of the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center. The Lions and UNO split the season series last year, with each squad winning on the road.