Martin, TN – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) women’s basketball rallied late, but an untimely cold-shooting performance for three quarters coupled with a 17-point halftime deficit was too much to overcome and the Governors dropped their first Ohio Valley Conference contest of the season to UT Martin, 69-53, Thursday at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.
Shay-Lee Kirby sparked the Austin Peay (7-3, 5-1) offense in the fourth period, as she scored 11 of her team-high 13 points in the final ten minutes of action. Kirby was perfect from three-point range in the final quarter, drilling three-pointers on each of the APSU Govs first two possessions, before connecting on her final triple with 2:13 left in the contest.
Kasey Kidwell also found her rhythm on the offensive end in the final frame, hitting a pair of layups and two free-throws, as she scored six of her 10 points in the last ten minutes. The Governors shot 42.9 percent from the floor in the fourth quarter and outscored Skyhawks 21-15, but it was not enough to erase the 22-point advantage that UT Martin (4-3, 3-1) had built in the third period.
UT Martin shot the lights out in the first quarter, shooting 61.5 percent from the floor and 66.7 percent from three-point range, but the Governors only trailed by two after a Tahanee Bennell three-pointer with 6:17 left on the clock. However, the Bennell triple was the APSU Govs final points of the period, and the Skyhawks closed on a 12-0 run to build a 14-point advantage after ten minutes of action.
With 7:03 left before the half, Nina De Leon Negron knocked down her first three-pointer of the contest, trimming the Skyhawk’s lead to 13 points. Just over two minutes later, De Leon Negron hit a free throw to cut the UT Martin advantage to a dozen points; but that was the closest the Govs would get before the half, as the Skyhawks closed on a 7-2 run and built a 17-point lead at the break.
The third period was a defensive battle for everyone except the reigning OVC Player of the Year, Chelsey Perry. Perry scored nine of her game-high 32 points in the quarter and helped the Skyhawks build a 22-point lead heading into the final ten minutes; where the Governors would not go away, but the comeback effort simply came too late and ran out of time.
Maddie Waldrop. Chelsey Perry scored her 32 points, but she is the reigning OVC Player of the Year and you know she is going to get hers. Waldrop, who was a First-Team All-OVC selection last season, came into the contest averaging 3.8 points per game this season, she went off for a season-high 21 points to complement Perry and give the Skyhawks the edge in their first meeting with Austin Peay State University this season.
Austin Peay State University dropped its sixth-straight game to UT Martin, but still leads the all-time series, 43-42.
Despite dropping their first Ohio Valley Conference game of the season, the APSU Govs are 5-1 in conference play and are still off to their best start in the OVC since the 2002-03 season.
The Governors shot a season-low 29.6 percent from the floor and made a season-low 16 field goals.
For the second-straight game, the APSU Govs only turned the ball over a season-low 12 times, while forcing UT Martin to commit 18 turnovers.
Shay-Lee Kirby led the Governors in scoring for the first time this season and the fourth time in her career, scoring 13 points – all in the second half.
De Leon Negron also led the Governors with three assists in the contest, marking the first time in her career she has led the team in helpers.
Kasey Kidwell scored a season-high 10 points, it is the first time this season and the fourth time in her career she has scored in double-figures.
Austin Peay 53, UT Martin 69
Up Next for APSU Women’s Basketball
Austin Peay will wrap up a five-game OVC road swing when they take on Southeast Missouri in a 1:00pm, Saturday tilt at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The Redhawks knocked off Murray State, 69-53, last time out, and are off to a 4-1 start in OVC action this season.
After the Govs wrap up their road trip, they will return home for a 4:30pm, January 21st matchup against Tennessee Tech at the Winfield Dunn Center. For news and schedule updates, check back at LetsGoPeay.com or follow the Governor women’s basketball Twitter page (@AustinPeayWBB).