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Austin Peay Lady Govs Basketball goes cold in the Ohio Valley Conference Quarterfinals and loses to the Murray State Lady Racers 90-73
APSU Sports: Austin Peay Women’s Basketball
Nashville, TN – A day after erasing a 15-point deficit in the final nine minutes of regulation to defeat Morehead State in a double overtime thriller on the opening day of the OVC Women’s Basketball Championships, the Austin Peay Lady Govs found out just how difficult it can be to maintain a double-digit lead at the OVC Tournament.
After leading by 14 points late in the first half, the Lady Govs went icy cold down the stretch in the second half in a 90-73 loss to Murray State in the tournament quarterfinals Thursday.
And for a program that has had much success in the postseason, Thursday’s loss brought this year’s Lady Govs campaign to a sudden stop.
“We came into the game knowing that to come out successful we were going to have to defend and rebound,” Lady Govs head coach Carrie Daniels said. “We did not do that today. Our defense was very poor and we did not execute on the defensive side. The end result of it was us going home with a loss.”
Both teams traded baskets early, but the Lady Govs (9-22) managed to stretch their first-half lead to 14 with 4:46 to play behind a career night from Meghan Bussabarger.
Bussabarger didn’t enter the game until a little over midway through the period, but nearly eclipsed her career-high 21 points in the first half, scoring 18 points on a perfect 8-of-8 shooting.
In all, the junior finished with 29 points on 11-of-13 shooting including an unusually sharp 2-of-3 performance from beyond the arc.
“It was just nice to know that my teammates had my back as soon as that first shot went down,” Bussabarger said. “The coaches and my teammates had my back and that gave me confidence to step up and make some plays.”
The bench production for the Lady Govs also allowed Daniels to spell Hanley, who played all 50 minutes of the Lady Govs 84-83 double overtime win over Morehead State Wednesday.
But, ironically, it was when Bussabarger took a quick breather with 4:07 left in the first half that the Racers made a run of their own, outscoring the Lady Govs 18-5 down the stretch to trim a 14-point Lady Govs lead to just one as the team’s headed into the locker room for halftime.
Out of the break, the teams traded baskets for much of the second half, with neither team able to pull ahead by more than four points until Mariah Robinson’s 3-pointer with 9:46 put the Racers in front 60-55.
“It felt like it was back and forth forever,” Robinson said. “I felt like after (her 3-pointer) we just needed to get more defensive stops. I felt like the momentum was definitely on our side.”
Led by a valiant second-half effort from Shelby Olszewski, who scored seven of her 15 points in the game’s final eight minutes, the Lady Govs were able to tie the game at 62-62 and 69-69, but were never able to re-take the lead as the racers closed the game on an 18-2 run to punch their ticket to Friday’s semifinal against UT-Martin.
“It feels good,” Cross said. “They have knocked us out two of the last three years. We were the regular season champ a couple of years ago and they knocked us out in the semifinals. Any time you look at Austin Peay and Murray State in any sport, it’s a big game for the conference.”
After shooting a blistering 48.6 percent in the game’s opening 20 minutes, the Lady Govs shot an icy-cold 28.1 percent in the second half.
“I thought it came back to our defense,” Daniels said. “When you’re playing good defense and things are going well, that carries over to the offensive side of it.”
Kyra Watson led the way for the fourth-seeded Racers (13-17), scoring 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting while Robinson finished with 21 points on a 6-of-11 night.
Racers guard Mallory Schwab also had a big performance, scoring 18 points and tracking down 11 rebounds.
“I did not want this to be my last game,” Schwab confidently said after the game.
Given that Hanley played all 50 minutes in Wednesday’s double-overtime thriller, it might have been easy to chalk Thursday’s poor shooting performance up to tired legs.
The Mt. Washington, KY native did not take the bait.
“My legs were a little bit gone but you can’t use that as an excuse,” Hanley said. “This is tournament time. We have played four games in four days before and even won a championship in double overtime. I just didn’t get it done.”
An emotional Daniels echoed her senior’s comments.
“Obviously any time you play 50 minutes of hard basketball it’s going to take a little bit out of you. We didn’t talk a lot about it. We let them rest yesterday but it’s tournament time. You have got to lay it on the line and go out there and play.”
As the Racers continued their late-game surge, Daniels subbed out Hanley for the final time with 47 seconds to play as the two shared a hug in front a standing ovation.
“We didn’t say much,” Daniels said. “I just wanted to give her a hug. I felt for her because of what she had put on the floor in these two games and throughout this season.”
Austin Peay vs Murray State
Austin Peay 73
Murray State 90
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.
Web Site: http://www.twitter.com/WadeNeely
TopicsAPSU, APSU Athletics, APSU Basketball, APSU Sports, APSU Women's Basketball, Austin Peay State University, Carrie Daniels, Lady Govs, Lady Racers, Mariah Robinson, Meghan Bussabarger, Municipal Auditorium, Murray State, Nashivlle TN, Nashville, Ohio Valley Conference, OVC, OVC Tournament, Rob Cross, Shelby Olszewski, Whitney Hanley
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