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Adrian Henning, Paige Smith, Ryan Bennett to be inducted into APSU Athletics Hall of Fame

Austin Peay State University GovernorsClarksville, TN – Male and female Austin Peay State University basketball players whose respective careers’ success mirrored each other during the early part of this decade and a baseball player who  played a key role in the Governors first NCAA baseball tournament appearance, will be inducted into the APSU Athletics Hall of Fame, February 5th.

Adrian Henning, a two-time first-team All-Ohio Valley Conference forward who led the Governors to back-to-back league championships and a 2003 NCAA tournament appearance; Paige Smith, who helped lead the Lady Govs basketball team to a trio of NCAA tournaments also during the early part of this decade, and Ryan Bennett, one of the best two-way catchers in APSU history who helped lead the Governors to the 1996 OVC tournament championship, will be inducted 9:00am, Saturday, February 5th, in breakfast ceremonies in the Dunn Center’s front lobby.

APSU Athletic Hall of Fame. (Photo Courtesy: Austin Peay Sports Information)
APSU Athletic Hall of Fame. (Photo Courtesy: Austin Peay Sports Information)

The induction ceremonies will see the APSU Athletic Hall of Fame grow to 97. The newest inductees and their families also will be honored during halftime ceremonies of APSU’s home contest against Murray State.

Henning was part of four-year senior class at Austin Peay that won 81 games, including a trio of 20-win seasons. Henning, in fact, was the leading scorer (15.5 ppg) on the 2002-03 Governors basketball team that captured the OVC tourney championship and advanced to the 2003 NCAA tournament against Louisville.

A year later, the 6-7 Henning also was the leading scorer (13.7 ppg) on the defensive-minded team that went an unprecedented 16-0 during OVC play to claim a second-straight OVC title. The Governors later that season gained their first-ever NIT victory. That team held opponents to less than 60 points on 18 occasions.

The Memphis native ranks 12th all-time in career scoring (1353 points) and 11th in rebounding (661). He is third al-time in blocked shots with 105.

At the same time Henning was the focal point of the Governors success, Smith was enjoying similar glory as a Lady Govs.  Serving as all-time leading scorer Brooke Armistead’s running mate at guard, the two achieved almost unmatched success in OVC basketball history. The Lady Govs won three straight OVC tournament championships and made three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, including a 72-70 loss to North Carolina in the 2003 first-round game. The Lady Govs posted a 27-4 record, including a 16-0 OVC mark, during that magical 2002-03 season.

Smith is Austin Peay’s seventh all-time leading scorer with 1324 points. She also ranks in several other Lady Govs categories, including three pointers made (258/2nd), free throw percentage (.852/2nd), assists (435/3rd), steals (177/7th), minutes played (4144/1st), games played (122/3rd) and games started (119/1st).

Smith was a member of the OVC All-Freshman team in 1999-00—her 72 three-pointers made still stands as a Lady Govs freshman record as does her .873 free-throw percentage mark—and a three-time OVC all-tournament team member. The Livingston native owns three of the Lady Govs Top-10 single-season free-throw percentage marks.

Bennett, meanwhile, came to APSU as a good-field no-hit catcher before developing into a terrific two-way player, especially during his final two seasons. As a junior, Bennett batted .356 with 17 doubles, three triples and five home runs.

But his senior season was even better. In fact, he became the first catcher—and remains the only catcher—in  Austin Peay history to hit .400 during a season. His .407 batting average remains seventh best in APSU history in helping lead the Govs to a school-record 44 victories and the program’s first NCAA appearance. He had 99 hits that season, one fewer than teammate and single-season record holder Nate Manning, who was inducted into APSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004. The Waukegan, Ill., native set the APSU mark, which stills stands, for doubles with 29 while also driving in 58 runs, the seventh-best all-time mark.

Bennett was consistently good in 1996 in earning first-team All-OVC after being honorable mention the previous season. He opened that season with an eight-game hitting streak and later had three other nine-game hitting streaks.

Despite playing the game’s most taxing position, Bennett ranks seventh all-time in batting average (.339), with his 211 career hits ranking ninth and 54 doubles ranking third. He also is ranked ninth all-time in RBI with 125.

Cost of the Hall of Fame breakfast will be $10.00 per person. To make reservations, telephone Tara Pfeifler at 931-221-6119.

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