Austin Peay Govs down Redhawks for third consecutive win
APSU Sports Information
Clarksville, TN – It was not pretty at times. It was not lights-out shooting. However, the Austin Peay State University (APSU) women’s basketball team once again showed amazing resiliency and fight to come back from another fourth-quarter deficit, defeating Southeast Missouri, 56-54, Thursday, at the Dunn Center.
Austin Peay Women’s Basketball defeats Southeast Missouri at the Dunn Center 56-54 for their third win in a row. (APSU Sports Information)
The Governors (14-12, 9-6 OVC) came back from being down six points at the start of the fourth quarter for the second straight game to extend their win streak to three, the longest this season.
If you like high-scoring affairs, this game was not for you. Both the Govs and the Redhawks (12-14, 7-9 OVC) struggled to open the game, with the Govs missing their first nine shots.
SEMO made just two of their first nine shots, but the Govs actually led the majority of the quarter due to making eight free throws in the period. Latrese Saine, who had a massive game against the Govs in January, missed the game due to injury, but the Redhawks were still forcing tough shots by the Govs inside, with Kasey Kidwell finally hitting the first bucket on the 10th shot attempt.
SEMO’s star guard Tesia Thompson hit a jumper as time expired in the quarter, but the Govs led, 10-9, despite a 1-of-11 start from the field.
The Govs looked like they might break out of their cold duck, with Maggie Knowles nailing a three-pointer on the first possession of the second quarter, but the Govs went cold again, missing their next four shots over a three-minute period that led to a 7-0 SEMO run.
The run was broken by a circus shot in the lane from Nieja Crawford before Brianah Ferby made one of the most spectacular three-pointers in recent memory. Ferby’s deep, high-arching shot bounced off the back iron and hit the top of the backboard twice before hitting the rim again and going in, a legal shot due to the fact it did not hit the shot clock.
The Ferby sister connection once again proved fruitful, as Brandi Ferby nailed a triple of her own to give the Govs a 21-19 lead as SEMO were the ones who now found themselves with no points over a three-minute span. The Govs had a chance to go into the half in the lead, but SEMO went on a late flurry and led, 23-22, after the first half. Free throws kept the Govs in it, as they shot just 5-of-26 from the field in the first half.
The Redhawks opened the third quarter with a more aggressive press that clearly rattled the Govs; even when they advanced the ball past the half-court line, it was not the most of confident of breaks. Knowles nailed another triple after breaking the SEMO press, but the Redhawks kept up the intensity, making their first four shots of the quarter.
Knowles made her third triple of the night shortly after SEMO got the lead up to seven points, but once again the Govs could not sustain the sparks provided by Knowles, making one of their next six shots as SEMO built the lead back up to nine points. An Arielle Gonzalez-Varner layup at the end of the quarter closed the gap, but meant the Govs would enter the fourth down six points for the second consecutive game.
Against rival Murray State, the Govs were also down six entering the fourth and responded by going out on a 7-0 run to take the lead in the fourth. The never-say-die attitude once again was flowing throughout all the Govs’ veins and they embarked on a game-changing 11-1 run to begin the fourth period.
Keisha Gregory scored the first four points of the quarter before Knowles hit her fourth three-pointer of the game to give the Govs their first lead since late in the second quarter. Knowles joins the Ferby twins as the only Govs to hit at least four triples this season.
Speaking of those Ferby twins, they ignited the Dunn Center crowd once again when Brandi stole the ball from Thompson (who went on a 10 minute stretch without a point or rebound), led the fastbreak and dished to Brianah who finished to put the Govs up three. The Redhawks did not go away though, as a quick bucket was followed by Thompson’s first bucket in over 11 minutes, drawing an and-one and making the free throw to put SEMO back up by two, 50-48.
The Govs responded with a crazy sequence from Gonzalez-Varner. After driving to score and tie the game, she stole the ball while pressing and scored again to give the Govs a 52-50 lead, but got too greedy on the next press, picking up her fifth foul and relegating her to the bench. With the Govs leading 54-52, Brandi drew a foul with only two seconds on the shot clock and made one of two at the charity stripe.
Thompson scored a runner in the lane to make it a one-point game again, then stole the ball on the next APSU possession, and called timeout to set up a play. However, terrific defense from Brianah led to Thompson losing control of the ball with the referees going to the monitor and giving the Govs possession. With eight seconds left, Keisha Gregory made one of two at the line, a rare occurrence for the all-time free-throw percentage leader, giving the Redhawks a chance to tie or win.
SEMO opted for the win, with Adrianna Murphy firing a straightaway three-pointer that hit the rim and went out, as the Govs held on for their third win in a row.
The Govs have won three in a row, their longest win streak this season.
Maggie Knowles nailed four three-pointers, her career-high.
Knowles accounted for half of the threes made by both teams in the game and is shooting 45 percent from beyond the arc in OVC play.
Knowles joins the Ferby twins as the only APSU players to make at least four three-pointers in a game this season.
The Govs have now won six of the last seven games against the Redhawks.
The Govs’ six game streak of shooting at least 80 percent from the free-throw line ended.
The Govs shot the exact same in both games against the Redhawks this season (16-53, 30.2 percent).
It was the second straight game the Govs won after entering the fourth quarter trailing.
APSU Head Coach David Midlick’s Musings
“I thought they (SEMO) played really good defense against us. They pressed and were able to matchup into a zone that’s really difficult to score against. They’ve been holding teams to low amounts of points, but I thought we were getting good shots for the most part. We rushed a few near the basket in the first half and when the shot clock was winding down, but we need to look at the tape because I think we can get some better ball and player movement.”
Next Up For APSU
The Govs host UT Martin, 1:30pm, Saturday, February 23rd with a chance to climb into the top four in the OVC.