Clarksville, TN – A first half deficit proved too much for the Austin Peay State University (APSU) women’s basketball to overcome, as the Governors fell behind early and were unable to complete a second-half comeback, falling to Eastern Illinois, 76-47, Saturday in the Dunn Center.
The first quarter of action saw the APSU Governors offense struggle to score from pretty much everywhere on the court.
A field goal each from Arielle Gonzalez-Varner and Ella Sawyer, plus a pair of free throws from Tahanee Bennell was all the Govs were able to get, as Eastern Illinois shot 61.5 percent from the floor en route to an early 16-point advantage.
With 3:23 left in the second quarter, Bennell kick stated the Austin Peay State University offense, knocking down the Govs first three-pointer of the day. Three possession later, Bennell did it again, burying her second triple of the day.
With less than 30 seconds left in the half, Shay-Lee Kirby got in on the three-point action, connecting for the first three of her team high 11 points. With the clock winding down on the, Bennell scored her tenth point of the first half, connecting on a buzzer-beating floater to cut the deficit to 25.
With 4:36 left in the third quarter, an old-fashioned three-point play from Myah LeFlore sparked the Govs biggest run of the day. On the next two Austin Peay State University possession, Kirby splashed a pair of three-pointers, as the Governors bench erupted behind her.
However the APSU Govs were unable to make up any ground in the third frame, as the Panthers matched them point-for-point.
Austin Peay State University started the fourth quarter on the right foot, with Kasey Kidwell connecting from downtown to cut into the Eastern Illinois lead. But the Governors were unable to pull any closer, as Eastern Illinois extended their lead late to knock off the Governors, 76-47.
A slow start for Austin Peay on the offensive end proved to be the difference. The first quarter saw the Governors shoot 20 percent from the floor; while Eastern Illinois shoot 61.5 percent from the floor and 66.7 percent from three-point range as they jumped out to a 16-point lead from which the Govs could never recover.
Despite falling to the Panthers, the APSU Governors still lead the all-time series 29-21.
For the seventh time this season, Shay-Lee Kirby knocked down at least three three-pointers in a game.
It was Kirby’s seventh time scoring in double-figures this season, and the third time that she has led the way in scoring.
Tahanee Bennell scored in double-figures for the first time since the Govs took on Tennessee Tech, January 9th – it was her fifth double-digit scoring performance of the season.
The APSU Governors 47 points was the fewest they have scored since they scored 47 points in a loss at Jacksonville State (1/13/18).
47 points was the Govs lowest scoring output in the Dunn Center since a 61-36 loss to SIU Edwardsville (12/28/17).
Austin Peay State University shot a season-low 27.7 percent from the floor.
For the first time since the Governors took on FIU, December 20th, Sawyer failed to connect from three-point range.
After forcing 16 Eastern Illinois turnovers, the APSU Govs have forced 15 or more turnovers in five-straight games.
Next Up For APSU Women’s Basketball
The Austin Peay State University women’s basketball team will be back on the road next week for a pair of in-state Ohio Valley Conference contests. First, the APSU Governors will play an 11:00am, Thursday, contest against Tennessee State in the Gentry Center. Then on Saturday, the Govs will tip-off a 3:00pm contest against Belmont at the Curb Event Center in Nashville.