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APSU Women’s Basketball gets off to fast start in 67-54 victory against Bellarmine

APSU Women's BasketballClarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University (APSU) women’s basketball freshman Lyric Cole recorded her first collegiate double-double, posting career-highs with 16 points and 11 rebounds, to lead the Governors to a wire-to-wire 67-54 win over Bellarmine, Sunday, at the Winfield Dunn Center.

Austin Peay (4-3) got off to a fast start with Shay-Lee Kirby scoring the first two of her season-high 16 points on a fast-break layup to give the Govs a lead which they would replenish at any point in the contest. After a Kasey Kidwell three-pointer and another Kirby layup pushed the Governors’ lead to 7-0, Bellarmine (1-7) called a timeout with 8:37 left in the opening quarter.

Coming out of the timeout, Cole stretched the Austin Peay State University lead to 9-0 before Kathleen Scott score the first two of her team-high 14 points to get Bellarmine on the scoreboard with 7:38 left in the first quarter.

2021-22 APSU Women's Basketball - Ella Sawyer. (Robert Smith, APSU Sports Information)However, Ella Sawyer had an answer for the Knight’s bucket and drilled three-pointers on back-to-back possessions to give the Govs a 15-2 lead with 6:41 left on the clock in the first quarter.

At the 5:44 mark in the first quarter, Yamia Johnson checked in for Austin Peay State University and proceeded to score all ten of the points she would score in the game in the opening quarter. Johnson went 4-of-6 from the floor – with all of her points coming in the paint – and knocked a pair of free throws to help the Governors build a 21-point lead, 29-8, after ten minutes of action.

Just like the first quarter, a Kirby bucket opened the second quarter and gave APSU its biggest lead of the day, 31-8, with 8:23 left in the second quarter. Trailing by 21 points, Bellarmine went on an 8-0 run that lasted just 1:37 and trimmed the APSU Govs advantage to 15 points.

2021-22 APSU Women's Basketball - Liz Gibbs. (Robert Smith, APSU Sports Information)The Governors were able to push the lead back to 17 points after a Liz Gibbs free throw with 2:23 left before halftime, but another Bellarmine run – this time a 7-0 stretch that took 1:09 off the clock – trimmed the Austin Peay State University advantage to 36-26. But Karle Pace had four unanswered points to close the first half and APSU led, 40-26, at the break.

The third quarter saw Austin Peay State University double up Bellarmine on the scoreboard, with the Governors holding the Knights to just eight points in the quarter. Leading 49-34 at the 2:23 mark, Sawyer dished out her career-high eighth assist and found Cole for a layup to start a quarter-closing 9-0 run.

Layups by Kirby and Cole pushed the Govs’ advantage to 19 points before a long Kidwell triple at the buzzer capped off a 9-0 run and pushed Austin Peay’s lead to 56-34 with 10 minutes left in the contest.

Trailing by 22 points, Bellarmine went to work in the paint to cut into the Austin Peay State University lead. The Knights outscored the APSU Govs 14-4 in the paint in the final quarter and closed the game on a 6-0 run that was capped off by a Jaela Johnson layup for the final two of her team-high 14 points, trimming the Austin Peay advantage to just 13 points with 33 seconds on the clock.

But the Governors held off the late charge and never trailed in the contest, picking up a 67-54 win over future ASUN rival Bellarmine.

The Difference 

Austin Peay State University’s fast start. After 15 days without a game, it didn’t take the Govs long to get in a rhythm, opening the game on a 9-0 run. The APSU Governors led 29-8 at the end of the first quarter and built a 23-point lead – their biggest of the game – at the 8:23 mark in the second quarter.

The quick start was too much for Bellarmine to overcome and Austin Peay State University picked up its first wire-to-wire win this season.  

APSU Notably 

Austin Peay State University scored 29 points in the first quarter, that is the most points they have scored in a single quarter since they scored 29 points in the first quarter at Mississippi Valley State (11/9/19).

2021-22 APSU Women's Basketball - Lyric ColeThe Govs outscored Bellarmine, 34-32, in the paint, improving to 3-0 this season when they outscore their opponent in the paint.

Austin Peay State University forced 19 turnovers and matched its season-high with 25 points off turnovers. The APSU Govs held the Knights to just 13 points off turnovers and are a perfect 4-0 this season when they score more points off turnovers than their opponent.

With 16 points and 11 rebounds, Lyric Cole is the first Governor to record a double-double since Tahanee Bennell scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against Tennessee State (2/9/21).

APSU Women's Basketball - Tahanee Bennell. (Robert Smth, APSU Sports Information)Cole’s 16-point, 11-rebound double-double is the first by an Austin Peay State University freshman since Brianne Alexander scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a 57-54 win at Jacksonville State (1/8/15).

Cole’s 16 points are the most by an APSU freshman since Nina De Leon Negron scored 16 points against Trevecca (11/28/20).

2021-22 APSU Women's Basketball - D'Shara Booker. (Robert Smith, APSU Sports Information)Cole’s 11 rebounds are the most by a Gov since D’Shara Booker grabbed 11 rebounds in the season opener at Evansville, November 9th.

Shay-Lee Kirby also scored a season-high 16 points, her performance since she scored a career-high 24 points at North Alabama (11/25/20).

Kirby connected on a pair of three-pointers in the contest, she has made a triple in 11-straight games, which is the longest streak in her career.

2021-22 APSU Women's Basketball - Yamia Johnson. (Robert Smith, APSU Sports Information)Yamia Johnson scored ten points, she has scored in double-figures in all seven games she has played for the Governors.

With 16 points from Cole and Kirby, today’s contest marked the first time this season that someone other than Johnson or Karle Pace has led the Govs in scoring.

Ella Sawyer dished out a career-high eight assists, which is the best single-game performance by a Governor since Tahanee Bennell recorded eight assists against Evansville (11/21/19).

2021-22 APSU Women's Basketball - Kasey Kidwell. (Robert Smith, APSU Sports Information)Kasey Kidwell recorded a season-high four assists – one off her career-high.

Sawyer also posted a career-high five steals; she is the second Governor with five steals in a game this season, joining De Leon Negron, who had five steals against Evansville, November 16th.

In addition to her double-double, Cole recorded a career-best four steals.

Quotably, APSU Coach Brittany Young 

On the fast start… “I think it was extremely important. It was something, just being honest, that I was a little worried about because of the stretch where we didn’t play. The confidence that I did have was in the group that we did start, over the last two weeks I think that they were extremely consistent in practice with their effort and energy. I think that showed and that’s why we were able to get off to a great start. ”

On the defense… “Defense is our emphasis. We talk about the identity of our team and that’s what we want it to be based around. We want it to be based on defense. We want defense to lead to easy transition points.”

On Lyric Cole “She is a freshman that hasn’t even played basketball in two years. So, when you think about that transition to college, and now because of injuries and other things, she has been thrust into a starting lineup. I know it’s a lot for her and it’s so stressful, but she is handling it pretty gracefully. We are going to continue to work with her, I think she is a special talent, and she led us tonight so we are thrilled about that.”

Next Up For APSU Women’s Basketball

The Austin Peay State University women’s basketball team hits the road for a pair of games in the Tar Heel State, where it will play a 4:00pm CT, Thursday game at UNC Asheville and a 2:00pm CT, Saturday game at Gardner-Webb. The Govs then wrap up their nonconference slate when they host UT Southern for a 2:00pm, December 21st contest in the Dunn Center.

For news and updates on everything Governors women’s basketball, follow along on Twitter or Instagram (@GovsWBB) or check back at LetsGoPeay.com.

Box Score

Bellarmine 54, Austin Peay 67

  1 2 3 4 Total
Bellarmine 8 18 8 20 54
Austin Peay 29 11 16 11 67

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