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High powered teams clash in MIAA opener

Western will put their four-game win streak on the line, as they begin MIAA play against the Fort Hays State University Tigers.

Through the first six games of the season, Western compiled a 5-1 record including a 110-49 win against Robert Morris College and a four game home win streak. During their success, the Griffons are outscoring their opponents 476-369 and are averaging 79.3 points per game.

The Tigers also have a 5-1 record after six games with a big 120-39 win over McPherson College and is currently holding on to their own four-game win streak. Through the beginning of the season, Fort Hays is outscoring their opponents 501-317 and averaging 83.5 points per game.

Although the Griffons struggled in last year’s MIAA opener versus the Tigers, the team hopes their early season momentum will result in a positive outcome in this year’s match.

Along with physical preparation, Western has focused on mentally preparing for Fort Hays and the rest of the MIAA, according to head coach Rob Edmisson.

“We have been getting our players to understand the intensity level and physicality of the league play,” Edmisson said. “This league is brutal, from top to bottom everyone is capable of beating everyone.”

The Griffons will rely on the offensive intensity of guards LaQuinta Jefferson and Sarafina Handy who have scored a total of 113 and 81 points through the first six games of the season. They will also depend on a stout defensive performance from Tiara Hall, who leads the team with 45 rebounds.

Fort Hays will lean on the consistent and dominate play of 6 foot 4 inch center Kate Lehman. Lehman leads the Tigers in 12 statistical categories including points, with 125, and rebounds with 63.

Coach Edmisson is making the team ready to contain Lehman’s presence and control her strong play style.

“This is a hard match up for us be cause she [Lehman] is so big and agile,” Edmisson said. “We have to create a game plan to contain her and to know where she is going to be at on the floor.”

Although the Tigers will be a tough opponent, coach Edmisson still has high aspirations for his team.

“We are not limiting ourselves with how high we can finish,” Edmisson said. “We want to put ourselves a position to play a first round home game and have a chance to go to Kansas City and play in the tournament.”

Western travels to Hays, Kansas to battle Fort Hays State in the opening game of conference play on Saturday, Dec. 6 at 2 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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