« Older: Nashville Lawn and Garden Show, March 1st – 4th Newer: Clarksville Downtown Market Seeks Vendors »
Austin Peay Lady Govs Basketball downs Morehead State Eagles in Round 1 of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament
APSU Sports: Austin Peay Women’s Basketball
Nashville, TN – Throughout 29 regular-season games, the Austin Peay Lady Govs had looked to Whitney Hanley to lead them down the stretch.
Wednesday’s OVC Women’s Basketball Championship opener against Morehead State proved to be no exception as the Lady Govs rallied from 15 points down in the final nine minutes of regulation to defeat the Eagles 84-83 in double overtime at Municipal Auditorium.
After the Lady Govs trailed for all of regulation, Hanley’s free throws with 5.5 seconds left tied the game at 61-61 and sent the game into the first of two overtime periods.
In the first extra period, the Lady Govs appeared to be in control behind the steady play of Hanley, who led all scorers with a career-high 38 points.
Hanley’s career night was even more impressive, however, considering the majority of her points came against vaunted Eagles defender Linda Dixon.
“She had 38 and I feel like Linda made her earn every one of them,” Eagles head coach Tom Hodges said. “She made some really tough shots. I felt like we defended her as good as we could have.”
After Hanley and the Lady Govs took a 74-71 lead with just over 13 seconds to play in overtime, Dixon sent the game to a second overtime session when she knocked down a straight-away 3-pointer with three seconds to play.
In the second overtime, both Shelby Olszewski and Meghan Bussabarger fouled out for the Lady Govs, who took their final lead at 84-83 when Nicole Olszewski converted 1-of-2 free throws with 12 seconds left.
Out of a timeout with five seconds left, Eagles guard Terrice Robinson’s jumper came up short and extended what has been a magical finish to the Lady Govs season.
“I honestly don’t know if I have words to describe the game we just played,” APSU Head Coach Carrie Daniels said. “We had to fight just to be here and be one of the eight and we have continued to fight. That was an unbelievable basketball game and our players have persevered like heck.”
An early missed Morehead State jumper at the end of regulation sent the two teams to overtime – a familiar place for the two schools.
The Lady Govs beat the Eagles 88-81 in an overtime thriller in Clarksville on February 18th, kick-starting a run that propelled the Lady Govs on their run to clinch the tournament’s final berth.
“It wasn’t exactly the way we had planned for it to happen,” a smiling Hanley said. “But we just had to keep fighting. We didn’t want this to be our final game this season.”
Now, after winning three of their last four games and qualifying for the OVC Women’s Basketball Championships on the final day of the regular season, Daniels said she felt as if her team might be peaking at the right time.
“We have played so well just to get here,” Daniels said. “This is tournament time. We have to bring our best or we will be going home.”
Down the stretch, however, the Lady Govs not only took better care of the basketball – they started attacking the Eagles defense.
“I wouldn’t change a thing (about our defense),” Hodges said. “Austin Peay has been playing as well as any team in the conference. They made some big plays down the stretch tonight.”
After both teams played a scoreless opening 90 seconds, the Eagles took their first and only lead of the game when Linda Dixon’s 3-pointer rattled home 15 seconds later.
The Eagles would drain two more 3-pointers in the game’s opening five minutes, extending their lead to 11-3 with 15:36 left in the first half.
Trailing 37-29 at halftime, Hanley and the Lady Govs would continue scratch and claw the Lady Govs back in it throughout the second half,following up a 3-pointer with 6:21 left in regulation with a corner 2-point jumper that trimmed the Eagles lead to 56-50 with 5:10 to play.
In the end, however, tournament time turned into Hanley Time.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever coached a player that has had a performance like that,” Daniels said. “What an effort from one of our leaders. She put the team on her back and said ‘Let’s go.’”
With the win, the Lady Govs punched their ticket to Thursday’s quarterfinals against Murray State, a team the Lady Govs swept in the regular season.
Tipoff is set for noon.
Despite the double overtime marathon on Wednesday, Daniels said the Lady Govs have to be just as prepared on Thursday.
“I’m sure Murray was very excited that we played two overtimes,” Daniels said. “But we can’t worry about that. We just have to go out there and play as well as we can.”
Austin Peay vs Morehead State
Austin Peay 84
Morehead State 83
Wade Neely comes to Clarksville after beginning his sports media career in March 2010 as the Sports Director at WKSR AM-FM in Pulaski, Tenn. During his time at WKSR, Neely created, produced and hosted “The Wade Neely Morning Show”, Pulaski’s only live and local wakeup program on WKSR-AM. Neely also served as the “Voice of the Bobcats”, providing play-by-play for all Giles County football, basketball and select baseball contests.
Neely also served as Director of Broadcasting at Martin Methodist College beginning in January 2011, providing play-by-play for all RedHawks home contests as well as the team’s trip to the NAIA National Tournament in Kansas City.
Originally from Pulaski, Neely earned his B.S. in Electronic Media Communication from Middle Tennessee State University’s famed College of Mass Communications. Neely also minored in Economics during undergraduate career.
TopicsAPSU, APSU Athletics, APSU Basketball, APSU Sports, APSU Women's Basketball, Austin Peay State University, Carrie Daniels, Lady Govs, Linda Dixon, Meghan Bussabarger, Morehead State, Morehead State Eagles, Municipal Auditorium, Murray State, Nicole Olszewski, Ohio Valley Conference, OVC, OVC Tournament, OVC Women's Basketball Championships, Shelby Oszlewski, Southeast Missouri, Terrice Robinson, Tom Hodges, Whitney Hanley
© 2006-2010 Clarksville, TN Online is owned and operated by residents of Clarksville Tennessee.