Clarksville, TN – For the fifth time this season, the Austin Peay State University (APSU) women’s basketball team never trailed, as the Governors used a convincing second-half performance to run away from SIU Edwardsville and win its second-straight Ohio Valley Conference contest, 76-55, Monday in the Winfield Dunn Center.
The Govs got off to a red-hot start, with Lyric Cole knocking down a pair of free throws before back-to-back buckets from Ella Sawyer and Shay-Lee Kirby pushed the lead to 6-0 at the 8:25 mark in the opening quarter. After a Mikia Kieth triple got SIUE on the board, Karle Pace answered with a three-pointer of her own to give the Govs a 9-3 lead with 7:17 left in the opening quarter.
SIUE was able to trim the deficit back to one point, 9-8, with 4:43 left in the first period, but Yamia Johnson came off the bench and scored the first of her team-high 19 points to spark a 6-0 Austin Peay State University run. Leading 15-8, SIUE scored five-straight points to cut the deficit to just two points, but a Johnson three-pointer put the APSU Govs back ahead by five points with 39 seconds left in the frame.
However, SIUE was able to get the final basket of the first period and Austin Peay led, 18-15, after ten minutes.
After a Johnson triple just 26 seconds into the second quarter, neither side was able to score for the next 2:42 of the contest, until Johnson buried a jumper to give the Governors an eight-point advantage, 23-15, with 6:52 left in the second quarter. SIUE finally got on the scoreboard in the second period when Jaida Hampton knocked down a triple for three of her team-high 14 points at the 6:07 mark.
After a Shay-Lee Kirby fast-break layup put the Govs ahead by seven with 5:24 left in the second quarter, SIUE went on a 6-0 run to trim the Austin Peay State University lead to 25-24 with 2:29 left to play in the quarter. But a Sawyer steal led to a Nina De Leon Negron fast-break bucket that sparked a 7-0, half-closing run, as the Governors built a 32-24 lead at the break.
Austin Peay State University started the second half with a Cole layup, pushing its lead to double-digits, 34-24, for the first time in the contest. After trading baskets, a Kirby layup at the 6:51 mark in the third period sparked an 8-0 Austin Peay State University run that built a 16-point, 46-30, lead with 4:44 left on the clock.
After the Cougars brought the Governors’ lead back to 14 points, Johnson and Kirby buried three-pointers on either side of an Allie Troeckler free throw and Austin Peay State University had its biggest lead of the third quarter, 54-34, with 2:44 left to play in the frame.
In the fourth quarter, Austin Peay State University pushed its lead to 20 points for the first time in the contest when D’Shara Booker buried a pair of free throws for two of her 12 points at the 8:19 mark. With the lead at 23 points and 5:11 left to play in the game, a Pace layup gave Austin Peay State University a 25-point lead – its biggest of the game – at 72-47.
APSU’s final bucket of the game – a Liz Gibbs jumper – pushed the lead back to 25 points before SIUE scored the final four points of the contest, but it was too little, too late as the Govs cruised to a 21-point conference victory and improved to 7-1 at home this season.
Turnovers. Austin Peay State University forced a season-high 24 turnovers and SIU Edwardsville was only able to force the Govs to give up the ball 19 times. More importantly, the Governors scored 26 points off of SIUE’s turnovers, while the Cougars were only able to score 12 points off of Austin Peay State University’s turnovers.
Austin Peay State University improved to 10-14 all-time against SIU Edwardsville and won its sixth-straight game against the Cougars.
The Governors improved to 6-5 all-time against SIUE in games played in Clarksville.
APSU outscored SIUE, 26-12, in points off turnovers and improved to 9-1 this season when they score more points off turnovers than their opponent.
The Govs outscored the Cougars, 42-22, in the paint and improved to 9-0 this season when they win the battle in the paint.
The Governors’ 21-point margin of victory is their second-best win of the season against a DI opponent, behind only a 26-point win at UNC Asheville.
Austin Peay State University forced a season-high 24 turnovers, topping the 23 turnovers it forced against North Alabama, November 16th.
APSU picked up its fifth wire-to-wire win of the season and its first in OVC play.
Yamia Johnson led the Govs with 19 points, she has scored in double-figures in 16-straight games to begin her Austin Peay State University career.
Johnson is the first Gov to score in double-figures in 16-straight games since Tearra Banks did it in 21-consecutive games from November 27th, 2016 to February 18th, 2017.
Karle Pace scored 15 points; she has scored in double-figures a dozen times this season.
Pace also matched her season-high with five boards.
D’Shara Booker scored 12 points and has scored double-digit points in back-to-back games for the first time since she scored in double-figures in five-straight games from February 13th to February 25th, 2021.
Quotably, APSU Coach Brittany Young
Opening thoughts… “We definitely talked about it [playing on a Monday] in pregame. This is definitely a rare thing, but we took it as more of an honor to be able to play on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Normally you are at home and watching a lot of games, a lot of top teams and NBA teams play, so we talked before the game about using tonight to honor people that came before us and sacrificed. Whether it’s our grandparents, parents, or people who went through struggles so our team assembled know can play the way we are able to play today. So, we definitely talked about that pregame and we saw it as a great opportunity that we wanted to maximize.”
On the Governors defense… “We really just wanted to stay solid defensively. To be honest, it’s our third game in five days, so we didn’t really pick up a lot in full-court like we tend to do at times. The biggest thing we knew was that they [SIUE] are a team that wants the paint, that’s going to put their head down and look to attack. We just wanted to make sure we put on a better showing than we did on Saturday, where we allowed some uncharacteristic open layups on drives.”
On Yamia Johnson… “She has been steady. The great thing is that she is not putting too much pressure on herself. I think she is coming out, relaxing, and finding her niche. And how is it coaching her? It’s a great feeling knowing that you have a kid, and to be honest we have a couple of them, that if you need a shot or need a bucket, they are able to step up and knock it down.”
Next Up For APSU Women’s Basketball
The Austin Peay State University women’s basketball team hits the road for a two-game OVC road trip, starting with a Thursday contest with a 5:30pm tip-off against UT Martin at the Elam Center in Martin, Tennessee. The Governors then travel to the state capitol for a Saturday showdown with Tennessee State at the Gentry Center with a 1:00pm start.
SIU Edwardsville 55, Austin Peay 76