CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Austin Peay State University’s women’s basketball team placed six players in double figures, Monday night at the Dunn Center, as it rolled to a 101-67 season-opening exhibition win against Martin Methodist.
The Lady Govs made 56 percent of their field goals (42-of-75) and won the rebounding battle by a 47-40 margin. However, they were a less than impressive 12-of-21 (57.1 percent) from the free-throw line.
“We played a lot of people tonight and a lot of new faces got some playing time,” Austin Peay coach Carrie Daniels said. “I think you saw a lot of nerves and jitters, but I hope we can get them out of the way before we open Friday at UAB.”
Junior point guard Nicole Olszewski led the Lady Govs with 19 points, on 8-of-11 shooting from the floor – including two from behind the arc, while also adding eight assists, three steals and a blocked shot.
“I loved the way she played out there tonight,” Austin Peay coach Carrie Daniels said. Nicole has come back this year and is a completely different player than she was last season.
“I think she would be the first to tell you that she wasn’t happy with the way her sophomore campaign went and she wanted to come out strong and turn things around this season.”
Austin Peay took the lead for good on a jumper by Olszewski, to make it 4-2, at the 17:37 mark of the opening half and extended that out to as many as 24 points, 45-21, with 5:10 left before intermission.
But Martin Methodist closed out the first half with a 12-0 run to cut the Austin Peay advantage down to 46-34 heading into halftime.
“I wasn’t as worried about the score as I was us getting away from what our game plan was as a team and not sticking with that,” Daniels said. “We talked to them at halftime about sticking to what we’re going to do and get as prepared for UAB on Friday.
“In the second half, the veteran players came out of halftime and did just that. This year as a team we want to get out and get some transition points but if it’s not there when lets run our sets. I was more pleased in the second half with the way we did that.”
In fact, Austin Peay opened the second half with an 18-2 run over the first 4:22 to push its lead out to 28 points, 64-36 and never looked back after that.
Freshman Jennifer Nwokocha chipped in with 18 points and 11-rebounds effort on 22 off the bench, while senior Meghan Bussabarger and sophomore Kristen Stainback each added 12 points.
“Jennifer has so much talent and we’ve been a little bit frustrated with her at practice, but I think when the lights are on and the popcorns popping she comes out ready to play,” Daniels said. “Coach (Brooke) Armistead looked over at me during the game as said Jennifer just a gamer.”
Clarksville freshman Tiasha Gray finished with 11 points, on 5-of-9 shooting from the floor along with four assists and two steals – but she also had five turnovers.
“I think Tiasha was one that you could see the jitters from,” Daniels said. “But she is going to be one of those players that is going to improve every game. She’s going to settle into it and be a nice player for us.”
Senior Leslie Martinez notched 10 points.
Martin Methodist’s Jessy Christopher led all scorers with 25 points, converting 8-of-16 from the field, including a 6-of-12 performance from three-point range. Bobbi Dodson added 15 points while Kyra Knight chipped in a game-best 13 rebounds.
Overall, the Redhawks offense was limited to 29.9 percent (20-of-67) shooting from the floor, but won the free-throw battle converting 19-of-22 (86.4 percent) from the line.
The Lady Govs regular-season opener is Friday, noon at UAB.
Austin Peay 101, Martin Methodist 67
Martin Methodist 34-33—67
Austin Peay 46-55—101
Martin Methodist: DeRhonda O’Neal 7, Nina Mills 7, Jessy Christopher 25, Jazmin Adams 3, Bobbi Dodson 15, Kyra Knight 8, Becca Smithson 2. Team totals 20 19-22 67.
Austin Peay: Meghan Bussabarger 12, Kaitlyn Hill 8, Leslie Martinez 10, Nicole Olszewski 19, Shelby Olszewski 2, Kristen Stainback 12, Tiasha Gray 11, Alexis Hardaway 8, Jennifer Nwokocha 18. Team totals 42 12-21 101.
3-point field goals: Martin Methodist 8 (Dodson 2, Christopher 6), Austin Peay 5 (Stainback 1, N. Olszewski 2, Gray 1, S. Olszewski 1).