Clarksville, TN – Go ahead and mark this one down as another classic in the Austin Peay-Murray State women’s basketball rivalry.
Austin Peay State University (APSU) women’s basketball stumbled out of the gate, as Murray State built a double-digit lead less than five minutes into the contest.
But the Governors battled back behind a career-high 18-point, 9-for-9 shooting performance from D’Shara Booker and another dominant rebounding effort as a team to beat the Racers, 74-71, for the fourth-consecutive meeting and sweep the season series with Murray State for the second-straight season, Monday, in the Winfield Dunn Center.
After an offensive rebound and layup from Booker got Austin Peay (9-5, 7-2) on the scoreboard first, Murray State (7-8, 4-6) caught fire and went on a 12-0 run, drilling three-straight three-pointers to build an early 10-point advantage.
But the Govs hung around, a Kemia Ward layup with 5:33 left in the first quarter stopped the Racers run and a Brandi Ferby three-pointer cut the deficit in half with just under four minutes on the clock.
With 2:43 left in the first period, Nina De Leon Negron got loose in the corner on a fast break and drilled a triple to cut the Murray State lead down to three. Then it was Booker again; she scored the final six points of the quarter and kept the Murray State lead, 21-17, within striking distance after ten minutes of action.
After a Murray State bucket about a minute into the second quarter, neither team was able to find the bottom of the net again until Macey Turley knocked down a free throw with 7:35 left before the half, extending the Racers lead to seven.
But Brandi Ferby knocked down a pair of free throws on the ensuing possession before De Leon Negron connected on another three-pointer to trim the Racers lead to two points.
However, Turley drilled a pull-up three-pointer on the next trip down the floor and Murray State was back up by five with 4:53 clock at the media timeout.
Out of the media timeout, the Governors went on a 6-0 run that started with a Tahanee Bennell floater in the lane and ended with a Maggie Knowles three-pointer to give Austin Peay its first lead of the night. With 35 seconds before halftime and the game tied at 34, Ashlynn Freeman made one of the biggest plays of the night, pulling down an offensive rebound and knifing her way to the basket for a layup that gave the Govs a 36-34 lead at the break.
Coming out of the locker room, Brandi Ferby drilled a three-pointer 33 seconds into the second half to give Austin Peay a six-point advantage. The Govs and Racers would battle back-and-forth for the next seven minutes of the third period, with Austin Peay stretching its lead to as big as seven and Murray State never got closer than four points.
Brianah Ferby made sure the Governors didn’t trail for long, driving to the rack for two of her 14 points 20 seconds into the fourth quarter to put her team back up by one. Booker connected on layups on each of the next two Austin Peay State University possessions, but the Racers matched each shot and the Govs still led by just one with 8:10 left in the contest.
After pulling down an offensive rebound, Knowles came off a screen from Booker – who also picked up the assist on the play – and drilled a three-pointer to push the Govs lead back to four. However, Sanders-Woods and Turley hit jumpers on each of the next two possessions and Murray State evened the score at 68 with 2:40 left in the game.
Just over 30 seconds later, Kemia Ward grabbed an offensive board and hit a put-back layup to give the Governors a lead which they would not surrender the rest of the way.
With 29 seconds left and the Govs still up by just one, Ella Sawyer sealed the game, ripping the ball away from Lex Mayes for a steal that would force the Racers to foul Austin Peay State University in an attempt to lengthen the contest.
In the process of trying to foul the Govs, Booker broke free and De Leon Negron found her wide-open under the basket for a layup with 12 seconds on the clock to close out the season-sweep of the Racers.
Austin Peay flat out dominated Murray State on the inside. The Governors outscored the Racers 42-26 in the paint and outrebound the Racers 44-23. The Govs 42 points in the paint is a season-high, and D’Shara Booker did the lion’s share of the work, scoring all of her career-high 18 points in the painted area.
Austin Peay State University Notably
Austin Peay State University picked up its fourth-straight win over Murray State, improving to 48-45 in the all-time series.
The Govs four-game winning streak against Murray State is the longest since Carrie Daniels led Austin Peay Peay State University to eight-straight wins over the Racers from 2009 to 2012.
The APSU Governors have won five out of the last six meetings with the Racers and have won the last six games contested in the Winfield Dunn Center.
David Midlick improved to 8-4 all-time against Murray State, he has more wins against the Racers than any other Ohio Valley Conference opponent.
D’Shara Booker led the Governors with a career-high 18 points, she also went 9-9 from the floor which matches the Austin Peay State University single-game field-goal percentage record (100%, min. 8 made FG) – Tearra Banks was the last Gov to go 100% from the floor in a game, she went 11-11 against Tennessee State (2/04/17).
Booker and Kemia Ward each grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Governors on the glass, the eight rebounds are a career-high for Ward.
Brianah Ferby added 14 points for the Governors, marking her sixth game in double figures this season and her best scoring output since she posted 20 points against Eastern Kentucky (Jan. 2).
Brandi Ferby scored 12 points and was the final Gov in double figures, she has now scored in double figures in two of the last three games.
Murray State 71, Austin Peay 74
Next Up for APSU Women’s Basketball
Austin Peay State University women’s basketball team will wrap up its season-long five-game homestand this weekend when they host a 4:30pm, Thursday contest against Belmont and a 1:00pm, Saturday tilt against Tennessee State.
Next week the Govs will be back on the road when they travel to the Bluegrass State for a pair of games against Eastern Kentucky, February 4th, and Morehead State, February 6th.