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Instant Peay Play: Youthful APSU Lady Govs Hoop Squad ready to put last year behind them

Legends Bank LogoClarksville, TN – After missing out on making the Ohio Valley Conference post-season tournament field last year for the first time since 2008, coach Carrie Daniels is banking on a group of young but talented players to lift the Lady Govs back into the upper echelon of the OVC standings.

“I don’t think it’s anything that we can hide from over the past couple of years and how disappointing they were,” Daniels said. “I’ve coaching for 18 years and it was hard.

APSU Women’s Basketball Team(APSU Sports Information)

“It was a very difficult season last year, but at the same time once it was over it was over and we had to put it behind us and move forward.”

That moving forward includes six freshmen on the 2013-14 roster to go with five sophomores and just one junior and two seniors.

“I’m so excited about what this freshman class brings and the ability to come in and push our upper classmen and compete with them each and every day,” Daniels said. “They come to practice and they’re fighting and competing for spots and pushing each other.”

But Daniels would add that even though they are short on upper classmen, they have shown great strides over the offseason along with the returning sophomores who want to put the memories of last season’s disappointing finish behind them.

“They’re competitors and none of them were happy with the way last year went,” she said. “They dedicated themselves in the offseason, went to work, and they have shown these newcomers the ropes and what needs to happen for us to turn this around.”

Returning from last year’s squad are senior guards Nicole Olszewski and Lauren Yarbrough, along with junior guard Kristen Stainback. Returning sophomores are guard Tiasha Gray, forwards Alexis Hardaway, Symantha Norton and Jennifer Nwokocha and center Lauren Maki.

Also returning will be red-shirt freshman Aspriona Gilbert, who didn’t log any playing time last year, to go with incoming true freshmen Emily Fox, April Rivers and Jacey Scott at guard and Tearra Banks and Beth Rates at center.

“Kristin, Nicole and Lauren have shown strides in the off season and this freshman class is one of the deepest and best that we’re had since I’ve been here,” Daniels said. “There is talent on this basketball team and I don’t think we can look at it and think how many freshmen and sophomores and how youthful we are.

“We’re talented and it’s just about us getting better each and every day and every game and starting to play our best basketball at the right time. I definitely think that it’s something that can happen with this basketball team.”

Despite the young squad, Daniels does feel they do enter the season with one advantage over most of the other conference teams – their post play.

“We so deep at our post position and in the OVC it’s a guard league,” she said. “That’s something that excites us as a staff, because that’s one thing that we know is to our advantage that we need to get the ball inside and utilize the postgame that we have.

“This freshman class that we have at the post position is very, very talented and if they continue to work hard and push themselves they’re going to get minutes, they’re going to see minutes on this floor.”

Only time will tell just how much this Lady Govs squad will improve from last year and its last–place finish in the OVC West Division.

But with the infusion of young talent to go with returners not wanting to go through another year of missing the conference tournament, things could be looking up for this group of young Lady Govs.

“No one on the team or on the staff is thinking we can’t compete and get it done,” Daniels said. “That has never been a question, it’s just a matter of us working hard each and every day and preparing ourselves to go out and compete.”
Austin Peay opens its 2013-14 regular season on Nov. 9th, at Western Kentucky University, while its home opener will be versus Arkansas State University, on Nov. 15th.

Hank Bonecutter
Hank Bonecutterhttp://www.clarksvillesmotorcycle.com/
Hank Bonecutter is a retired broadcaster and media consultant based in Clarksville, Tennessee. His career includes stints at WKDA/WKDF and WKQB Rock 106FM, WLAC-AM in Nashville. He concluded his career as owner/talk show host at WJZM-AM in Clarksville. Currently the President of Bonehead Promotions, he's an advertising consultant and media strategist. An avid motorcyclist, Hank blogs about his travels exclusively at www.clarksvillemotorcycle.com and www.clarksvilleonline.com You can follow Hank on on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/dodgintheroadkill/, on Twitter at https://twitter.com/?lang=en, and Instagram https://www.instagram.com/dodgetheroadkill/?hl=en  
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