Austin Peay (5-11/3-0) at Tennessee State (7-9/2-1)
Thursday, January 14th, 2016 | 5:30pm CT
Nashville, TN | Gentry Center
Nashville, TN – Austin Peay State University women’s basketball team, the Ohio Valley Conference leader after two weeks, begins a challenging three-game OVC road trip when it meets Tennessee State in a 5:30pm, Thursday contest at the Gentry Center.
Austin Peay trailed by 15 points after the first quarter, but erased that deficit with a 15-0 run to start the second period.
APSU leveled the game after three quarters before racing away courtesy a 32-16 fourth quarter margin.
Senior guard Tiasha Gray notched her fifth carer 30-point outing, finishing with 32 points in 32 minutes against the Golden Eagles. That performance helped her claim the OVC’s Player of the Week award for the first time this season, Tuesday, as well as Tennessee Player of the Week honors from the Tennessee Sports Writers Association.
Backing up Gray was the front-court duo of junior forward Beth Rates and sophomore center Brianne Alexander. Rates put forth a career-high 18 points thanks to a 6-of-10 shooting performance while also added seven rebounds and three blocked shots. Alexander returned to action after missing four games due to injury and finished with 17 points and eight rebounds, making 11-of-12 at the free-throw line.
Austin Peay’s 3-0 OVC start came on the back of three straight home games. Beginning with Thursday’s contest, the Govs begin a three-game OVC road trip which includes Thursday’s game followed by a Saturday tilt at Belmont then a Wednesday affair at Morehead State.
Tennessee State (seven wins) and Belmont (six wins) own the two longest active home win streaks in the OVC. Meanwhile, four of Morehead State’s six wins have come in its home gym.
Tennessee State sits one-game behind Austin Peay with a 2-1 conference mark, winning its last two conference outings. Most recently, the Lady Tigers handed preseason favorite SIU Edwardsville its first loss, 73-61, Saturday, behind a season-best 48.1 percent shooting performance.
Thursday’s contest will be the 58th meeting since 1976-77 between Austin Peay and Tennessee State, with APSU holding a 31-27 advantage. The Lady Tigers have dominated the series since 2006-07, winning 11 of the 15 meetings, including its current five-game win streak. Austin Peay has not won in the Gentry Center since January 15th, 2011, losing the last two meetings there.
The More You Know
Bank on Banks
Junior center Tearra Banks is in rarified air at the season’s halfway point, entering Thursday’s game ranked ninth among Division I players in field goal percentage (60.0). Only one player in APSU history has finished a season shooting better than 60 percent – Gerlonda Hardin, who accomplished the feat all four years she played at Austin Peay and finished her career shooting 61.8 percent from the floor.
Gray Milestone Watch Continues
Senior guard Tiasha Gray became only the fifth APSU women’s basketball player to reach the 1,500-point plateau with her 27-point performance at East Tennessee, December 21st:
APSU Career Steals | Currently 1st (269)
Previous Record: 243 by Tracie Mason (1987-91)
APSU Career Points | Currently 5th (1,591)
Next: 1,805 by Shondra Maxwell (1986-90)
APSU Career Assists | Currently 3rd (440)
Next: 507 by Jeanne Hinchee (1978-82)
Lady Govs Ledger
David Midlick inherited an Austin Peay women’s basketball team largely unchanged from its 2014-15 edition. Four starters and 11 letterwinners return from a team that posted the program’s best record since 2010-11. Senior guard Tiasha Gray highlights the returning group after earning Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors last season.
About the Tennessee State Lady Tigers
Tennessee State is unbeaten at home this season (5-0) and has a seven-game home win streak dating back to last season – the longest home win streak in the OVC. Prior to Saturday’s win against SIUE, Tennessee State had struggled with its shot and enters Thursday’s contest ranked 12th among OVC teams (35.5 percent) in field-goal percentage.
Junior forward Jayda Johnson is ranked 10th among OVC scores (14.3 ppg) while junior I’mani Davis is ranked 13th (13.4 ppg), the duo accounts for 45 percent of the TSU’s scoring.
An Austin Peay Win Would
Give it four consecutive wins for the first time since the 2013-14 season… Make it 4-0 to start OVC play for the first time since 2003-04… End its five-game losing streak to Tennessee State… Be its first victory against TSU since February 12th, 2011… Be its first road win this season, ending an eight-game road losing streak… Make Midlick 6-11 overall and 4-0 in OVC play in his first season at Austin Peay and 51-27 in his third season as a head coach overall… Make the Govs 456-660 since 1976-77 and 232-330 in OVC action.
OVC Digital Network
Presented by Tennessee State Athletics