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Clarksville, TN – Junior guard Tiasha Gray scored a career-high 37 points but it was not enough as Austin Peay State University women’s basketball team dropped its season opener, 85-73, to Wright State, Friday night at the Dunn Center.
Austin Peay’s Tiasha Gray scores career high 37 points against Wright State Friday Night. (APSU Sports Information)
Gray was the bulk of the offense in the first half, scoring 23 of Austin Peay’s 47 points. She sparked a 13-0 Lady Govs run, including eight straight points that helped give APSU its largest lead, 17-12, with 12:26 remaining.
Wright State, which saw Preseason Horizon League Player of the Year Kim Demmings, a senior guard, leave early in the half due to injury, scored the game’s next five points to keep Austin Peay from running away with the game.
The Raiders regained the lead courtesy a 16-4 run with senior guard Tay’ler Mingo supplying five points as one of six players to score during the run. Senior guard Courtney Boyd’s two free-throws at the 2:23 mark closed the run with WSU leading 37-30. Austin Peay could not close the game before halftime.
Wright State opened the second half with seven of the period’s first 10 points to build an 11-point lead, 54-43, less than two minutes into the half. The Raiders pushed the lead to 15 points with 12 minutes left thanks to freshman forward Lexi Smith’s layup.
Yet the Lady Govs did not fade away and cut the lead back to single digits, 67-58, with 9:24 left as Tiasha Gray hit another three-pointer. Wright State fired back immediately with a 10-1 run again keyed by Mingo, who scored four points during the burst.
Austin Peay made one last charge, piecing together a 9-1 run with a Gray three-pointer and three straight baskets by Beth Rates, cutting the deficit to 10 points, 78-68. However, the Lady Govs could not get any closer, scoring just five points in the final 3:35.
“I don’t think we gave up,” said Lady Govs head coach Carrie Daniels. “We fought until the end and gave effort. Wright State pulled away but I thought we did a good job of coming back and trying to counter those.”
Gray’s 37 points came on 11-of-23 shooting, including 6-of-13 from three-point range. It topped her 28-point performance against Central Arkansas nearly one year ago. Gray also had seven rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Sophomore guard April Rivers added 12 points while sophomore center Beth Rates finished with 10 points and nine rebounds. Junior forward Symantha Norton grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds.
“Tiasha stepped up and continued to make plays on the offensive side,” Daniels said. “I thought April did a great job coming in and being spark for us. Symantha did a tremendous job keeping the ball alive and crashing the boards.”
Mingo responded to Demmings’ absence to score a Wright State-best 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Breanna Stucke chipped in a 13-point, 12-rebound double double.
“The biggest thing is that the things we didn’t do well are correctable things,” said Daniels. “That was the biggest positive. Wright State is tremendous, talented team but we can look at this as a building block for us.”
Austin Peay will get back on the court quickly with a 1:00pm, Sunday contest at Evansville.
Video – Carrie Daniels
About APSU Sports Information
Austin Peay State University Sports Information provides the latest news and updates on the Athletic endeavors of the student-athletes at APSU. Under the direction of Brad Kirtley, the APSU SID’s office consists of Cody Bush, and Colby Wilson. To contact the APSU Sports Information office, contact, 931.221.7561.