Trailing by as much as 14, the Washburn Ichabods rallied late and snap a five-game losing streak, 62-59, against Fort Hays State, in Wednesday’s MIAA opener at Lee Arena. The result bumps the Ichabods to 7-1 on the year and 1-0 in conference.
Down 41-27 with 7:19 left in the third quarter, Washburn trimmed the margin to two as it rattled off a 14-2 run. The run stretched for 5:10 and was sparked with a layup by Axelle Bernard while Reagan Phelan dropped in eight.
The Ichabods took their first lead of the second half, 48-47, at the 9:51 mark of the fourth as Mackenize Loe fed a cutting McAfee for the layup. Loe then scored the next five points for Washburn pushing its advantage 53-50. The narrow lead though disappeared as FHSU (7-1, 2-1 MIAA) went on 9-3 spurt taking a 59-56 lead with 2:47 left in contest.
Phelan then gave Washburn a 60-59 lead with 26 seconds remaining as she converted both attempts from the line after adding a layup at the 1:41 mark. A missed Tigers 3-pointer with under 10 seconds left on the clock forced FHSU to fouled as they tried to hang on but sent McAfee to the line. With the game in the balance, McAfee knocked both attempts nudging Washburn to a 62-59 advantage where it hung on for the win.
Fort Hays State out scored Washburn during the opening two periods and went into the halftime break with a 33-24 lead. In the first half, the Ichabods completed 10-of-29 with four from three-point reange while FHSU converted 14-of-31 attempts from the field.
Washburn finished the evening shooting .393 from the field, .304 from long range and .875 from the charity stripe opposed to the Tigers’ .400 from the floor, .222 from deep and .700 from the line. FHSU though edged out WU in rebounds, 37-36, and points in the paint, 34-32.
Individually, McAfee finished with a game-high 18 points. Phelan followed netted 17 despite playing just four minutes in the first half due to foul trouble. Loe meanwhile providing some scoring from the bench as she added 15. Bernard led all players with five blocks and fours asssits while Loe tied a game-high with three steals. The duo capped the night with six rebounds each.
Washburn returns to Lee Arena on Saturday, Dec. 9 when it hosts Nebraska-Kearney at 5 pm. Fans are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to the contest for dontation to Shawnee County Toys for Tots.