Jacksonville, AL – Trailing by three points at the start of the fourth quarter, the Austin Peay State University (APSU) women’s basketball team held Jacksonville State to just seven points in the fourth quarter, as the Governors defense propelled them to their first Ohio Valley Conference win, 63-57, Saturday in Pete Matthews Coliseum.
Despite winning an OVC-best nine non-conference games, Austin Peay State University (10-5, 1-3) entered Saturday’s contest against Jacksonville State (6-9, 2-2) still searching for their first league win.
The teams matched each other bucket-for-bucket through the first ten minutes, and the score was tied 14-14 after one quarter.
Despite knocking down a season-low three three-pointers in the game, the Governors used the three-ball to gain a little separation in the second quarter. Ella Sawyer knocked down a triple to start the scoring in the second then assisted on wide-open transition three-pointer by Maggie Knowles three possessions later. The Governors shot 50 percent from the floor in the second quarter, and took a two-point advantage, 33-31, into the locker room.
Jacksonville State scored first in the second half to erase the APSU Govs lead and tie the game at 33. While the Gamecocks took the lead on their next possession, the Governors never let them extend their lead, thanks in part to another solid performance off the bench from D’Shara Booker. Booker scored four of her eight points in the third quarter, with two points coming on a putback after she pulled down an offensive rebound – cutting the Gamecock lead to one.
The Governors could never quite erase the narrow Jacksonville State advantage in the third quarter, but they fought hard to stay within striking distance heading into the final ten minutes of action.
A 5-2 run to start the fourth quarter was capped by a Booker jumper that gave the APSU Governors their first lead since the start of the second half. The two teams went scoreless for the next 3:21, before a Taylor Hawks layup gave the Gamecocks a one-point advantage. But the Govs didn’t trail for long, as Kasey Kidwell drove hard to the rim and finished through contact to take the lead right back.
The Governors wouldn’t trail the rest of the way, as Arielle Gonzalez-Varner got a steal which led to a fast-break layup on the next possession. Another Gonzalez-Varner bucket the next trip down the floor gave the Govs a five-point advantage with 1:15 left in the contest. With the Austin Peay State University Govs leading and less than a minute remaining, it came down to free-throws. Ella Sawyer knocked down three free-throws in the final 40 seconds to put the game on ice and give the Governors their first win in OVC play.
The Governors defense in the fourth quarter. Austin Peay State University held Jacksonville State to just seven points in the final ten minutes. The Governors defensive intensity in the fourth affected the Jacksonville State offense, which could only muster four points from the floor on 18.2 percent (2-of-11) shooting.
The APSU Governors picked up their first win against Jacksonville State since January 7th, 2016 in Clarksville.
The Govs ended a three-game losing streak, picking up their first conference win.
Ella Sawyer scored a game-high 14 points to lead the Governors in scoring for the second time in OVC play and her career.
Sawyer knocked down a career-high nine free-throws.
The Governors made a season-low three three-pointers, but scored 36 points in the paint to supplement the offense.
The APSU Govs outrebounded (41 to 33) and forced more turnovers (14-11) than their opponent for the second straight game.
Arielle Gonzalez-Varner missed posting her season’s sixth double-double by just a single point.
Gonzalez-Varner did not score in double-figures for the first time in five games.
The Austin Peay State University Governors committed a season-low 11 turnovers.
Next Up For APSU Women’s Basketball
The APSU Governors continue their four-game OVC road trip with a 5;15pm, Thursday, tilt against Southeast Missouri. After the Govs matchup in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, they will make a stop in Martin for a 2:00pm, Saturday, contest against the Skyhawks of UT Martin.
The Governors lost to Southeast Missouri and UT Martin at home in the first week of OVC play, and will look to return the favor when they hit the road this week.