League-leading Bruins a little too much for Govs
APSU Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) women’s basketball team suffered their first Ohio Valley Conference defeat at home to league leaders Belmont, 80-62, Saturday, at the Dunn Center.
The Governors (9-10, 4-4 OVC) used a dominate third period to come back from a double digit behind Nieja Crawford’s career-high 18 points, but the Bruins (14-5, 7-1 OVC) held on in the fourth.
Austin Peay Women’s Basketball fall at home to Belmont, 80-62. (APSU Sports Information)
Maggie Knowles hit a three-pointer to start off the game as the Govs knew they had to match the volume three-point shooting from the Bruins.
The Bruins showed how quickly they can score, going on an 8-0 run led by Ellie Harmeyer to erase a decent Govs start. Harmeyer had five points and three rebounds during the run.
The Govs did a good job limiting Preseason OVC Player of the Year in Darby Maggard, as she went scoreless in the first, but the Govs finished the quarter just 3-of-11 from the field.
The Bruins used a 6-0 run late in the quarter to take a double-digit lead before Nieja Crawford drove baseline for a layup to pull the Govs within eight, 19-11, after the first period.
The second period started out with some unfortunate bounces around the rim for the Govs. They were consistently getting to the basket, but a handful of shots kept rimming out. The Bruins were doing a great job of contesting shots, but not fouling. The Govs did not attempt a free throw until the 5:40 mark of the second quarter.
The Bruins did start to get to the line, despite shooting much worse in the second quarter. As the rest of the Bruins could not get it going in the second quarter, Maggard stepped up. Maggard had 10 points in the second period, including a buzzer-beater at the end of the half to put the Bruins up 12.
The third quarter was full of action, but it did not start out promising as Arielle Gonzalez-Varner picked up her third and fourth fouls by the five-minute mark. Maura Muensterman was leading the charge from deep for the Bruins, as her third three-pointer of the game put them up 15 early in the period.
Harmeyer also continued to be a huge headache for the Govs, recording a double-double. Harmeyer also was the only Belmont player to go to the free-throw line as a result of open play at the time and she ended up hitting her first 13 free throws.
Despite all that Belmont was throwing at them, the Govs did not fade away. Crawford hit her second three-pointer of the game to get back the lead back under double-digits, before a Gabby Gregory three cut the lead to just six as the Govs went on a 7-0 run.
Maggard responded with a deep three to temporarily silence the Dunn Center crowd, but great moves on drives by Kasey Kidwell and Keisha Gregory put the Govs within five. After a Bruins bucket to get the lead back to seven, Crawford hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to set a new career high with 18 points as the Govs were down by only four points heading to the fourth period. The Govs had 28 points in the quarter, the most they scored in a third quarter this season.
With the Govs appearing to have seized momentum at the end of third, Belmont came back furiously, using an 11-0 run with two Maggard triples to extend the lead to 16. The Govs were rattled as the Bruins used the run to take control of the game and fended off any attempts of a comeback. The Govs did see some good news in the fourth though, as Michaela Campbell scored in her return from injury.
The Govs shot decent enough from the three-point line, having a better percentage than the Bruins in that area, but did not make one in the fourth and went just 3-of-16 from the field overall. The Govs forced nine turnovers and only turned the ball over themselves eight times, but trailed the Bruins in points off turnovers, 14-3. Despite continuing to fight until the final whistle, the Govs fell, 80-62.
Nieja Crawford scored a career-high 18 points.
Maggie Knowles tied her career-high with seven rebounds.
The Govs fall to 4-4 in OVC play.
The Govs scored 28 points in the third quarter, the most in a third quarter this season.
The Govs attempted their lowest amount of free throws in an OVC game this season.
Michaela Campbell made her return from injury.
The Austin Peay bench outscored the Belmont bench 28-5.
APSU Head Coach David Midlick’s Musings
“We made a run and cut it to four going into the fourth quarter and we had three or four good looks at the basket that did not fall at the start, so our offense got what we wanted in the first three or four minutes of that quarter, but they executed real well at the other end. They beat us down low and got the ball where they wanted to.”
Up Next for APSU
The APSU Govs are back in action on the road against Tennessee Tech, next Thursday, January 31st.