Edwardsville, IL – For the first time in 17 years, the Austin Peay State University (APSU) women’s basketball improved to 4-0 to start Ohio Valley Conference play; the Governors dominated nearly every facet of the game against SIU Edwardsville and posted a 73-54 win over the Cougars, Thursday, at the Vadalabene Center.
Entering Thursday’s contest, SIUE led the OVC with a +6.2 rebounding margin; but the Govs dominated the Cougars on the glass, outrebounding one of the league’s top rebounding teams, 50-32.
The Cougars also led the OVC in offensive rebounding, but the Governors controlled the offensive glass as well, outrebounding SIUE, 22-15, and outscoring the Cougars by 12 points in second-chance opportunities.
SIUE won the tip and scored first, but the lead was short-lived as Maggie Knowles got open and drilled a three-pointer on the Governor’s first possession of the game.
Back-to-back buckets from Myah LeFlore helped the Govs build a four-point lead, but the Cougars responded with a 8-0 run of their own to take an 11-7 lead.
However, the Govs had a run of their own for the Cougars, and a Kasey Kidwell offensive rebound led to a Nina De Leon Negron layup that sparked the offense for Austin Peay. Knowles and Brianah Ferby connected from three-point range on each of the next two possessions, before a Kelen Kenol layup put the Govs up four.
Finally, Knowles capped the 13-2 scoring run with her third triple of the first quarter, giving the Governors a seven-point advantage with 1:22 left in the period.
SIUE got the final bucket of the first quarter to trim the deficit to five, and then the two squads traded baskets for the first four minutes of the second quarter. With 6:10 left before the half, Brandi Ferby knocked down a pair of free throws to push the Austin Peay lead to 11 points, marking the first time it reached double-digits in the contest.
With 3:17 left before halftime, De Leon Negron scored on a fast-break layup to ignite a 9-1 Governors run to close out the half. Knowles hit her fourth three-pointer of the half and then D’Shara Booker got her first bucket of the contest to give Austin Peay State University a 14-point advantage.
Finally, De Le Negron stole the ball in the backcourt and dished to Knowles for an easy layup to cap the run and push the Govs lead to 16. However, SIUE hit a free throw to close the half, and the Governors held a 37-22 led at the break.
After the Cougars connected from three-point range to start the second half, Tahanee Bennell had the answer for the Govs, drilling her first three of the contest. Thirty seconds after the Bennell triple, Knowles drilled her fifth and final three-pointer of the game to start another big run for the Governors.
After pulling down an offensive rebound, Booker hit a second-chance layup and then blocked a shot on the defensive end that led to a Kenol layup. After another offensive rebound for the Govs, Kemia Ward scored a second-chance bucket to give Austin Peay its first 20-point lead of the contest.
With 2:22 left before the half, Bennell hit her second triple of the contest and then knocked down a pair of free throws to keep the scoring spurt going. Then Kidwell put the finishing touches on the 10-3 run, getting a quick steal and dishing to LeFlore for a layup that gave Austin Peay State University a 26-point advantage with 1:05 left in the third quarter.
After SIUE trimmed the lead back to 24, Bennell hit a spinning layup in the lane at the buzzer to give Austin Peay a 61-35 lead at the end of the third period.
The Governors started the final quarter by stretching their lead to 28 – the biggest of the day – when Kenol hit a layup off another Austin Peay State University offensive rebound. APSU and SIUE traded baskets for most of the final period, and the Cougars were able to cut into the deficit in the final minute of the contest.
But it was too little, too late for the SIUE and the Governors picked up their fourth-straight win to start conference play.
Rebounding. SIUE led the OVC with a +6.2 rebound margin and the APSU Govs ranked sixth with a margin of -0.9; but hey, no worries. APSU dominated the glass and had a +18 rebounding margin against the Cougars. Austin Peay State University was also +7 on the offensive glass and outscored the Cougars, 18-6, in second-chance points.
Austin Peay State University picked up its fourth-straight win against SIUE, improving to 8-14 in the all-time series.
The four-straight wins against the Cougars are the Governors longest winning streak in series history.
The APSU Govs pulled down 50 rebounds for the first time since February 6th, 2020, when they grabbed 51 rebounds against Tennessee State.
Austin Peay State University dished out 21 assists, marking the first time the team has posted 20+ assists in a single-game since they posted 21 assists against Trevecca on November 28th, 2020.
With 10 made three-point field goals, the Governors knocked down double-digit triples for the fifth time this season.
Kasey Kidwell led the Govs on the glass with a career-high eight rebounds and matched her career-high with five assists.
Brandi Ferby dished out six assists to lead the Governors in helpers for the fourth time this season and the 22nd time in her career.
With 5 three-pointers against SIUE, Maggie Knowles has connected on at least five three-pointers in four straight games.
Kemia Ward pulled down a career-high seven rebounds.
Brandi Ferby picked up four steals in the contest, she now has at least three steals in five-straight games.
Quotably, APSU Coach David Midlick
On the Govs offense
“I liked our offense, we had 21 assists on 26 made baskets. We shared the basketball and were unselfish, but as a coach, I wish we would shoot it a little better when we had some of those open looks. It’s crazy because we have shot the ball pretty well in practice, but it just has not fallen as much as we would like, but obviously, we had enough offense to win.”
“This always a difficult place to play, Paula [Bushcer] always has her team ready and they are always physical. I know that SIUE is without some of their key components and they will be a different team the next time we face them, but I have a lot of respect for this team.”
“The thing that strikes me about them [Eastern Illinois], is that they rarely beat themselves. We are going to have to have an extraordinary energy level and we are going to have to decrease our turnovers. They play a little different man-to-man defense, and they play a little different zone defense than other teams in the league with how they rotate. We have practiced it a little bit, but we are going to have a one-day prep to get going on Saturday”
Austin Peay 73, SIU Edwardsville 54
Up Next for APSU Women’s Basketball
The Austin Peay State University women’s basketball team road trip rolls on with a 1:00pm, January 9th contest at Eastern Illinois. APSU will still travel to UT Martin and Southeast Missouri before returning home on January 21th against Tennessee Tech. For news and schedule updates, check back at LetsGoPeay.com or follow the Governor women’s basketball Twitter page (@AustinPeayWBB).