Miami, FL – The Austin Peay State University women’s basketball was trailing by ten points with 7:22 remaining, but then the Govs pulled off a thrilling comeback victory, 58-56, over Florida International at the Florida International Holiday Hoops Showdown.
It was a slow start for the Governors, who only managed to score eight points in the first ten minutes of action.
The Govs were getting looks at the basket, but were never able to heat up from the floor in the first quarter.
Things changed when freshman Shay-Lee Kirby exploded for ten second-quarter points. The Vienna, West Virginia, native buried two three-pointers to help the Governors to their largest lead of the day – seven points with 1:22 remaining before the half. Nieja Crawford and Tahanee Bennell each hit a three-pointer in the quarter as well, as the Govs took a 33-28 lead into the locker room.
But the third quarter was reminiscent of the first, as the Governors were only able to muster eight points. FIU retook the lead in the third quarter, and after thirty minutes of action, the Panthers led 43-41.
With 7:22 left in the contest, the Governors faced their largest deficit of the day, and the tournament, trailing by 10 points. Three-pointers from Nieja Crawford and Kirby on back-to-back possessions cut the lead to four with 6:45 left in the game.
Crawford’s rebounding and defensive prowess sparked the Govs. Crawford pulled down an offensive board that led to two Brandi Ferby free-throws, which cut the lead to two. A few possessions later, Crawford got a steal on the defensive end and buried her third three-pointer of the day on the other end to cut the Panther lead back to one.
Brandi Ferby did the rest of the scoring for the Governors, converting a wide-open layup to give the Govs a one point lead, before knocking down four consecutive free-throws to put the game – and the championship – on ice.
The effort of Nieja Crawford in the fourth quarter. In the final ten minutes, Crawford scored seven points, hauled in three rebounds, and recorded a steal. A huge offensive rebound and a steal led to a five-point swing in the Governors favor in the fourth quarter, as they knocked off host-school FIU, 58-56, to win the FIU Holiday Hoops Showdown.
The Governors picked up their first in-season tournament title since the 2002-03 season when the Govs won the Unilever Lady Tiger Classic in Columbia, Missouri.
The 8-2 start to the season is the Govs best 10-game start to a season under head coach David Midlick.
The Govs reserves outscored FIU 34-15. The Govs are now outscoring the opponents’ bench by 14.7 points per game off the bench.
Next Up for APSU Women’s Basketball
The Governors will finally return home to the Dunn Center at 2:00pm, December 29th, when they take on the Redbirds of Illinois State. The Govs wrapped up a five-game road trip at the FIU Holiday Hoops Showdown, and will play their first game in Clarksville in 38 days when they take on Illinois State.