Austin Peay Govs clinch spot in OVC tourney as Midlick wins 100th career game
APSU Sports Information
Richmond, KY – Austin Peay State University (APSU) women’s basketball team clinched a spot in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament with a 80-60 win over Eastern Kentucky, Thursday, at McBrayer Arena.
The Governors (15-13, 10-7 OVC) hit 13 three-pointers as head coach David Midlick won his 100th career game as a collegiate head coach.
Austin Peay Women’s Basketball gets 80-60 road victory over Eastern Kentucky Thursday. (APSU Sports Information)
Despite the Govs putting 100 points on the Colonels (2-26, 0-17 OVC) in the first meeting, the Colonels were the ones who got off to a better start in that game.
The same happened again, as the Colonels jumped out to a quick 11-4 lead off the back of an 8-0 run after a rather flat start from the Govs. Keisha Gregory put some energy into the Govs with two triples in three possessions, as they cut the EKU lead to one.
The Govs only made one of their next six shots before a big basket from Brianah Ferby led to a press opportunity, as Arielle Gonzalez-Varner stole the ball and made the layup to give the Govs a one-point lead, 16-15, entering the second quarter.
Maggie Knowles and Nieja Crawford both made three-pointers early in the second quarter, but EKU went on an 8-1 run to take a 34-32 lead. The duo of Abby Wright and Shay Solomon was starting to cause problems for the Govs, particularly Solomon’s explosiveness.
The run was broken by a Gabby Gregory three, but the Colonels went into halftime with a one-point lead, 36-35. The made seven triples in the half, but only attempted four free throws in the half. In addition, EKU went 9-for-17 in the second quarter, compared to a 7-for-20 effort from the Govs.
Both teams started hot from the field in the second half, trading basket after basket, before Nieja Crawford got the momentum on the Govs side by converting an old-fashioned three-point play. Kasey Kidwell made a three-pointer that Bria Bass answered, but the back-and-forth affair continued as Gabby hit another three to give the Govs a 50-49 lead.
After a Katie Caifes jumper, the Govs closed strongly, embarking on a 9-0 run to take command of the game and lead, 59-51, after three quarters. Both teams made seven field goals in the quarter, but the Govs made eight free throws in the quarter compared to the Colonels making zero.
Keisha got the fourth quarter underway with a bang, as she nailed her third triple of the game to give the Govs a double-digit lead. Bass answered again, but the Govs were unfazed, with Brianah Ferby making a three in front of the Govs bench that kickstarted a 10-0 run to effectively end the contest, with the Govs going up 18 with about four minutes to go.
In the run, Gabby hit the 13th triple for the Govs, one off the school record. EKU hit one meaningless free throw at the end and that was the only point the Govs allowed over the final six minutes.
The Govs showed up with a clutch second-half shooting performance, going 13-for-26 in the second half. EKU only made three of their 12 shots in the fourth quarter, as the Govs blew the doors open in the fourth, winning by 20, 80-60.
Head coach David Midlick earned his 100th career victory as a collegiate head coach.
With the win, the Govs clinch a spot in the OVC Tournament.
Arielle Gonzalez-Varner finished with 20 points and nine rebounds, game-highs in each category.
Her 9-of-14 shooting from the field is the best shooting percentage for a Gov with at least six made field goals since Maggie Knowles went six-of-six against Eastern Illinois last month.
Knowles has made at least two three-pointers in six straight games.
Gonzalez-Varner recorded her fourth 20-point outing this season, good for second on the team.
Since starting 0-9 on the road, the Govs are 3-1 on the road since.
The 27 bench points are the most in a game since the win over Tennessee Tech.
APSU Head Coach David Midlick’s Musings
On the game:
“The team really had some toughness in the second half. To go on the road against a team that had been playing well at home, with us having a good bit to play for, is tough, but I thought our defense was very good. Our bench gave us contributions and Ari was big inside for us.”
On his 100th win:
“100 is just good players getting you the wins. Keisha, who as a senior has been here for four years and been a part of a lot of them, all the coaches and players who have been a part of those I just want to think.”
Next Up For APSU
The APSU Govs wrap up the regular season with a trip to archrival Murray State, 5:00pm, Saturday, March 2nd.