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Fourth-place teams battle when Austin Peay hosts Eastern Illinois, Thursday

 

APSU Women’s Basketball

Austin Peay State University GovernorsClarksville, TN – The Ohio Valley Conference’s two hottest teams – and two teams tied for the critical fourth-place position – will meet when Austin Peay women’s basketball team hosts Eastern Illinois in a 5:15pm, Thursday contest at the Dunn Center.

The Lady Govs bring a season-best five-game win streak into Thursday’s contest. Austin Peay stunned league-leading Tennessee Tech, 63-57, Saturday in a competitive contest that featured 21 lead changes and saw neither team lead by more than six points. The Lady Govs beat the Golden Eagles at their own game, winning the free-throw line battle by a 20-14 margin.

Lady Govs Basketball. (Courtesy: Austin Peay Sports Information)

Lady Govs Basketball. (Courtesy: Austin Peay Sports Information)

Austin Peay claimed victory despite leading scorer Whitney Hanley finishing with just five points. The rest of the Lady Govs starting five stepped up in her absence, combining to score 48 points. Senior Brooke Faulkner led the effort with a game-best 14-point effort. Freshman Nicole Olszewski chipped in 12 points while the forward combination of junior Jasmine Rayner and sophomore Meghan Bussabarger each added 11 points.

Eastern Illinois has won its last seven contests, including a 68-55 victory against Murray State, Saturday. The Panthers used the free-throw line to secure the win, posting an 18-8 advantage at the stripe. Eastern Illinois also piled up a 49-37 rebounding lead while holding Murray State to 31.3 percent field-goal shooting.

Whitney HanleyMariah King led Eastern Illinois with 23 points in the victory, making 8-of-15 from the field. Ta’Kenya Nixon added a 15-point, 14-rebound, 5-assist outing. The Panthers’ starting five accounted for all but eight of the team’s points in the win.

Eastern Illinois won this season’s earlier meeting between the two teams, a 79-58 decision, December 4th, in Charleston. The Lady Govs were able to maintain a single-digit deficit most of the game. However, the Panthers used a 18-6 run over a seven-minute span in the second half to secure the victory.

Bussabarger led the Lady Govs with a game-best 19 points in that earlier meeting. However, freshman Nicole Olszewski (13 points) was the only other player to join her in double-digit scoring territory. Sydney Mitchell scored 16 points to lead four players in double-digit scoring for EIU.

Brooke FaulknerThursday’s contest will go a long way towards determining which of the two teams will earn the league’s fourth seed in the upcoming OVC tournament. The winner will have the inside track with only Saturday’s contests remaining in the regular-season schedule.

The fourth-seed could prove important as it will provide a pass into the quarterfinal round. The fifth seeded team will play an opening-round contest and a four-game path to the league championship game.


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