Clarksville, TN – Trailing by a dozen points to start the fourth quarter, Austin Peay State University (APSU) women’s basketball went on a 13-0 run to start the final period and retake the lead from Eastern Illinois, but the Governors comeback effort came up short in the final minutes of the contest and they fell to the Panthers, 62-59, Saturday in the Winfield Dunn Center.
Trailing 51-39 at the start of the fourth quarter, Austin Peay State University’s (11-8, 9-6) furious fourth-quarter comeback started with a D’Shara Booker jumper and an Ella Sawyer three-pointer to cut the deficit to single digits just over a minute into the final period.
After Booker pulled down a rebound on the offensive end, Sawyer got open and drilled a jumper from the free-throw line, trimming the Eastern Illinois (10-13, 8-10) advantage to just three. On the next two Austin Peay possessions, Booker was able to find her way to the basket for a pair of buckets and the Governors led, 53-52, for the first time in the game.
However, that was the last time the APSU Govs would lead in the contest, as the Panthers responded with a 6-0 run of their own to retake the lead and stretch the advantage back to five points. With seven seconds left, Austin Peay trailed 62-59 and had the ball with a chance to tie the game and send it to overtime, but a Shay-Lee Kirby three-pointer at the final buzzer was just off target.
Austin Peay was unable to find the range from behind the arc early in the contest, with Knowles knocking down the Govs lone three-pointer of the first half. Eastern Illinois knocked down just a single three-pointer as well, but the Panthers used ten points from Abby Wahl and shot 54.2 percent from the floor as a team to build a 33-20 lead at the break.
In the third period, the Governors offense came alive behind Knowles’ three-point shooting. With 4:10 left in the quarter, Knowles buried her second and third three-pointers of the contest on back-to-back possessions, trimming the Eastern Illinois lead to just seven points. Two minutes later, Knowles drilled a contested-corner three and the APSU Govs trailed by just five points with 2:04 remaining in the quarter.
But the Panthers once again had an answer for the Governors and closed the third period on a 7-0 run to take a 51-39 lead into the final quarter, setting the stage for a double-digit Austin Peay comeback that just ran out of steam down the stretch.
Points in the paint. Austin Peay State University dominated the paint last time out against SIUE, but today it was the Panthers who outscored the Govs 40-26 in the paint.
Eastern Illinois 62, Austin Peay 59
Next Up For Austin Peay State University
It’s another one-day turnaround for the Governors who will kick off the final week of the regular season with a 4:30pm, Monday contest at Eastern Kentucky. Austin Peay State University’s season-ending three-game road trip will then wrap up with a 5:00pm, February 25th tilt at Tennessee Tech and a 1:00pm, February 27th contest at Jacksonville State.