Clarksville, TN – Usually it takes a team a few games, or at least a few quarters, to find its rhythm at the beginning of a new basketball season; but that wasn’t the case for the Austin Peay State University (APSU) women’s basketball team, which came out firing, knocking down 9 of their first ten three-point shots en route to a program record 18 triples in the season opening win over Kentucky Wesleyan.
From the opening tip, the Governors were firing on all cylinders, connecting on six of seven first quarter three-pointers.
Coming off the bench, Brianah Ferby led the way with seven points in the first quarter, hitting twice from three-point range – she would finish the day with 15 points. The Govs led 29-19 after the first ten-minutes of action.
The Govs carried the hot hand into the second quarter, hitting three of four three-pointers to start the quarter and improve to nine of ten from behind the arc to start the game. The Governors would end the first half shooting 12-of-14 from three-point land, nearly matching the single game three-point record in the first 20 minutes.
At the halftime break, the Governors led 68-36, with four player already in double-figures. Ella Sawyer was the leading scorer at the break. The freshman from Adelaide, Australia, scored five points at the charity stripe and added a three, finishing the first half with 12 points and a team-high four assists.
The third quarter saw the Governors offense slow slightly for everyone except for Tahanee Bennell. The junior-college transfer from Turners Beach, Australia, buried two three-pointers in the third quarter and found another bucket on a crafty drive to the rim. Bennell scored eight third-quarter points on her way to being the Governors co-leading scorer, with 21 points on the night.
A Shay-Lee Kirby shooting exhibition broke out in the fourth quarter, as the true-freshman from West Virginia went three of three from three-point range in the final 10 minutes. Kirby’s ten fourth-quarter points gave her 21 points on the night, as she matched the Bennell for the team lead.
Bennell and Kirby combined for 42 points and 11 three-pointers in their first regular season game, as the Governors rolled to a 103-70 win over the Panthers of Kentucky Wesleyan.
The three-point shot. Seven Governors combined to make a program record 18 three-pointers. The previous record had stood since February 3rd, 2003, when the Govs drained 14 threes against Morehead State in the Dunn Center. Holding the Panthers to just seven made three-pointers, the Govs outscored Kentucky Wesleyan 54-21 from behind the three-point arc.
Tahanee Bennell and Shay-Lee Kirby each scored 21 points, it was the first time two Govs have scored 20+ points in the same game since Brianne Alexander and Brianah Ferby did it at Belmont, January 1st, 2018.
The Governors shot 56.7% from the floor; it was the first time the Govs have shot 55+ percent in a single game since they did it against Eastern Illinois, January 20th, 2016.
The Govs 103 points was the second best total in a season-opener in program history, trailing only the 116-point performance the Govs posted against Fort Campbell, November 12th, 1979 – which still stands as the best single game mark in program history.
It was the second consecutive home-opener in which the Govs have scored 100+ points, and third time in the David Midlick era – Midlick’s teams are now 3-0 when they score 100+.
The Governors scored 68 points in the first half, the last time an Austin Peay State University team scored 60+ points in a half was in the second half against Jacksonville State, December 12th, 1999.
Quotably, APSU Coach David Midlick
On the Governors shooting
“I thought we would have to shoot the three well, Kentucky Wesleyan switches all screens and they are going to make you beat them from outside, unless you have a dominate, really tall post player. When you get it in the post theirs going to be two or three people just right there, and we had to make some shots, so fortunately we did.”
On the defense
“Overall we did well. There is defiantly some things we have got to work on, I thought they had too many straight on drives to the basket; we have got to be able to at least turn a dribbler one time and be able to get some help. Although, tonight we did choose to let our players go one-on-one on defense and not give up three-point shots and make them beat us with twos instead of threes, and I thought the team carried out the game plan really well.”
“That’s just a really good basketball team we played tonight, that people probably don’t understand is probably going to win close to 30 games this year, they were 24-8 last year and have four starters back. They played Western Kentucky last week, and were up midway through the fourth quarter on them, so we played well tonight. I’m proud of our team.”
“We’ve got to keep up the energy. On the offensive end, we have to continue to share the ball. On defensive we are going to work on trying to keep someone in front of us.”
Next Up For APSU Women’s Basketball
The APSU Women’s Basketball team will welcome Christian Brothers for a 7:00pm, Friday, tip-off in the Dunn Center. After the matchup with Buccaneers, the Govs will hit the road for a two-game jaunt before returning to Clarksville for a matchup with Evansville, November 21st.