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Instant Peay Play: Nagging trends aid in both APSU Basketball team’s recent losses

Instant Peay Play - APSU SportsClarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University’s men’s and women’s basketball teams got off to solid starts to their 2016-17 seasons, but recently a couple of concerning trends have aided in the current slides.

For the Governors men’s team, it has been the inability to get stops on the defense end of the floor; while the women’s team poor perimeter shooting has limited their scoring diversity.

Austin Peay Men and Women's Basketball. (APSU Sports Information)
Austin Peay Men and Women’s Basketball. (APSU Sports Information)

On the men’s side, the Govs (4-7) opened the season on allowing one team – Dayton on November 11th in the season opener – to shoot over 50 percent from the floor over the first six games and posting a 4-2 record.

But in the last five games — all APSU loses — the Govs have allowed opponents to shoot over 50 percent from the floor in each game.

During that span, opponents have connected on 179 of their 328 shot attempts (54.6 percent), which include 48 of 106 from behind the three-point arc (45.3 percent).

Admittedly, this has also been the toughest stretch of games for the Governors, having faced IP-Fort Wayne twice, Wofford, Arkansas and Evansville – who are a combined 30-15 so far this season.

And it won’t get much easier for the Govs, as they close in on the start of Ohio Valley Conference play, hosting Lipscomb – who seems to play some of their best basketball against the Govs over the past few years – before closing out the pre-conference schedule on the road at Indiana and Western Kentucky before hosting OVC pre-season favorite Belmont on December 31st to open conference play.

As for an answer, the Govs aren’t the biggest team – both in height and bulk – but they are quick, athletic and have eight players that are averaging right at 15 minutes or more per game, so they must use that to their advantage with defensive pressure and up tempo play to wear opponents down and try to create more transition baskets for themselves, while limiting scoring chances for their opponents.

For the women’s basketball team (6-6), the problem they have suffered through is the same one they have had all season long – the lack of a consistent scoring threat from the outside to complement and take some pressure off the inside scoring of Tearra Banks, Brianne Alexander and to an extent Beth Rates.

Just how big of a discrepancy is there from Banks, Alexander and Rates compared to the rest of the team?

Banks, Alexander and Rates are a combined 143 for 266 from the floor (53.8 percent) while the rest of the team is 130-421 (30.9 percent).

Only point guard Bri Williams is hitting at least 40 percent of her shots from the floor this season (40.3 percent), while Falon Baker (33.4), Nieja Crawford (31.8), April Rivers (29.6), Shelbe Piggie (29.0), Jacey Scott (28.6), Keisha Gregory (21.1) and Madison Rich (20.0) have failed to put the ball in the basket with any consistency.

Baker did have a little mini run of three games where she hit 13 of 24 shots (54.2 percent) from the floor, but has gone 3 of 13 (23.1 percent) since.

The longer the shooting drought continues the harder and harder the inside scoring effort will become, as opponents will sag their defenses into the paint around Banks, Alexander and Rates and dare APSU guards to shoot from distance.

History says at some point Baker, Rich or someone will finally get their shot falling, but until then the Govs will be a heavy one-dimensional offensive threat offense that will only see it harder and harder to put points on the scoreboard.

Chris Austin
Chris Austinhttp://www.clarksvillesportsnetwork.com
Chris Austin is a graduate of Clarksville High School and Austin Peay State University. Chris is a former Head Softball Coach for APSU, and assistant basketball coach for CHS. Chris has worked at the Leaf-Chronicle, and WJZM News/Talk/Sports radio. Has also worked at the Sports Information Department at APSU, and has covered championship events for the Ohio Valley Conference and NCAA. Chris is an avid sports fan and can be found at most Austin Peay State University sports events.

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