APSU Women’s Basketball
Cape Girardeau, MO – Sophomore Meghan Bussabarger scored a career-high 20 points and Austin Peay State University women’s basketball team won its Ohio Valley Conference opener, 65-57, at Southeast Missouri, Thursday night at the Show Me Center.
The Lady Govs (2-6; 1-0 OVC) led from the outset, but it was a test of resiliency down the stretch. A 10-point, 51-41, lead was whittled down by the Redhawks (2-5; 0-1 OVC) with a 10-0 run to tie the game at 51-all with 5:09 to play.
At the point of the game’s only tie, Bussabarger pulled down a big defensive rebound and worked it ahead to freshman Nicole Olszewski for a layup to put Austin Peay back ahead to stay. Bussabarger would knock down another jumper and ultimately, junior Whitney Hanley would make 4-of-4 free throws with under 15 seconds to play, setting the final margin.
Hanley, who was coming off back-to-back 20-point outings, scored 17 points to join Bussabarger in double digits. She also led the Lady Govs with six rebounds and a career-high seven steals. Olszewski and junior Jasmine Rayner each added nine points.
Austin Peay built its lead as large as 12 points, twice in the first half. After scoring the game’s first seven points, the Lady Govs allowed SEMO to close it the three points, 12-9, at the 12:58 mark.
Bussabarger and Olszewski would each connect, along with a made free throw by senior Darcie Warner to make the lead 11 points, 20-9.
SEMO’s Bailie Roberts then hit two threes and Brittany Harriel worked an easy layup, cutting the lead to three points, 20-17, with 7:09 left until the half. Austin Peay would regain control, eventually taking a 33-23 halftime lead.
A poor shooting team on the season, Southeast Missouri made 38.9-percent (21-of-54) from the floor, including only 5-of-18 from three. It was the first time this season Austin Peay held an opponent under 44 percent.
Even with the offensive struggles, three Redhawks landed in double figures, led by Katie Norman’s 19 points off the bench. Brittany Harriel and Bailie Roberts scored 13 and 10 points, respectively.
The Lady Govs, meanwhile, shot a season-high 53.7-percent (22-of-41) from the field. They also made 14-of-16 free throws, including Hanley’s perfect effort to close the game.