Nashville, TN – Trailing by four points with 1:23 left in the game, Ella Sawyer drilled a corner three-pointer, drew a foul, and converted the four-point play to tie the game and propel the Austin Peay State University (APPSU) women’s basketball team to its third-straight Ohio Valley Conference win in a 72-69 thriller at Tennessee State, Saturday, in the Gentry Center.
Trailing by three with less than a minute on the clock, Tennessee State (10-8, 5-2 OVC) was forced to foul the Governors in an attempt to extend the contest. The Lady Tigers were able to knock back-to-back shots down the stretch, bringing the APSU’s lead back within a single point, but Pace went 5-of-6 from the free-throw line in the final 33 seconds of the game to hold off Tennessee State.
Pace scored the final eight points of the contest for Austin Peay State University, en route to a season-high and game-high 23 points. D’Shara Booker and Ella Sawyer joined Pace in double-figures with 15 and 10 points, respectively, Booker has now scored in double-figures in three-straight games.
Austin Peay State University got off to a fast start, with Pace and Shay-Lee Kirby hitting three-pointers on two of the first three possessions of the game to build an 8-4 lead with 6:31 left in the first period. After a Sawyer layup and another Kirby triple, Tennessee State was forced to call a timeout with APSU Govs lead, 13-6, at the 5:02 mark in the opening quarter.
After Pace drew an offensive foul out of the timeout, APSU built their biggest lead of the first quarter, 15-6, after Booker’s first bucket of the game. The Governors and Lady Tigers traded baskets for the remainder of the first quarter, but Yamia Johnson got the final bucket to give Austin Peay State University a 23-16 lead after ten minutes of action.
With the APSU Govs leading 28-20 a the 6:33 mark in the second period, Tennessee State went on a 9-0 run that lasted 2:23 and built a one-point advantage. But Austin Peay State University answered right back, with Liz Gibbs and Sawyer each knocking down a pair of free throws to put the Govs ahead by three, 32-29, with 2:55 left before the half.
The Governors took a six-point lead with 55 seconds left before halftime when Nina De Leon Negron buried a three-pointer for her first points of the game, but Tennessee State’s Dominique Claytor scored two of her team-high 18 points to close the half and Austin Peay State University led, 37-34, at the break.
After a Tennessee State bucket to start the second half, De Leon Negron connected on another three-pointer to spark a quick 7-0 run and push the lead back to nine points, 44-35, with 7:22 left on the clock. With the lead still at nine points and 1:39 seconds left in the third quarter, Pace knocked down another three to give Austin Peay State University its biggest lead, 53-41, of the afternoon.
However, Tennessee State closed the third period on a 7-0 run and the Governors led, 53-48, with ten minutes of basketball left to play.
The Lady Tigers were able to trim the Govs’ lead to just a single point with 7:42 left to play, but Pace hit another triple and then knocked down a pair of free throws to go on a 5-0 run all by herself and push the lead back to six points, 60-54, at the 6:32 mark in the final period.
Trailing by six points, Tennessee State went on a 10-0 run that lasted 3:49 and built a 64-60 lead with 2:43 left in the game. The late Lady Tigers run set up Sawyer’s game-tying four-point play and the clutch late-game free-throw shooting of Pace that led the Governors to their eighth-consecutive win against Tennessee State and their fourth-consecutive win in the Gentry Center.
The free-throw line. Austin Peay State University was able to get to the charity stripe 22 times, where it knocked down 18 free throws and shot 81.8 percent. Tennessee State shot 83.3 percent from the free-throw line, but eh Lady Tigers were only able to get to the line a dozen times and made just 10 free throws.
Most importantly, APSU went 9-of-10 at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter of the contest.
Austin Peay State University won its eighth-straight game against Tennessee State and improved to 39-28 in the all-time series.
The Governors’ eight-game winning streak against Tennessee State is its longest active streak against a conference opponent.
Austin Peay State University’s three-game OVC winning streak is tied with Tennessee Tech for the longest active winning streak in the league.
The Governors shot 72.7 percent (8-11) from three-point range, that is their best single-game three-point percentage since at least the 2010-11 season, topping a 64.3-percent (9-14) performance against Murray State (2/13/12).
The Governors won for just the second time this season when getting outscored, 34-28, in the paint.
Austin Peay State University improved to 8-3 this season when it connects on more three-pointers than its opponent.
The Govs outrebounded the Lady Tigers, 31-22, and improved to 8-2 when they win the battle on the glass.
Karle Pace led the Governors in scoring for the sixth time this season with a season-high 23 points, it was her best performance since she scored a career-high 32 points at Eastern Kentucky (1/16/21) while playing for Eastern Illinois.
Pace matched her season-high with five rebounds for the second-consecutive game, she has at least four boards in seven-straight contests.
D’Shara Booker scored a season-high 15 points, marking her best single-game performance since she scored a career-high 21 points at Eastern Kentucky (2/22/21).
Booker has scored in double-figures in three-straight games, the last time she did that was a part of a five-game streak from February 13th to February 25th, 2021.
Ella Sawyer scored in double-figures for the third time this season with 10 points, she also dished out a team-high four assists to lead the Governors in helpers for the sixth time this season.
Sawyer also grabbed a team-high six rebounds, she has recorded at least six rebounds in seven of Austin Peay State University’s last ten games and has led the way on the boards four times this season.
Nine players took the court for Austin Peay State University today and all nine Govs that played were able to find their way on the scoresheet.
Quotably, APSU Coach Brittany Young
Opening thoughts… “I think going into the game we knew this was going to be a physical fight. They just play a different style of basketball, it is unlike anybody else in the conference. So, in order to win, we talked about being able to adapt to that style and trying to play that style better than them in order to handle it. I just think that, kind of surprisingly, we took a lead out front, because they have usually been jumping out and taking big leads on their opponents. But at the end of the game, when they were able to make a run and take the lead, just the resiliency of this group to fight back and not bow down, I am just so proud of them.”
On Tennessee State’s press… “It is definitely different. I think what makes it tough is that they never let up. Some people will do it and if it’s not as successful early on, they will go to something else, but they are going to stick with it down ten or up ten, it doesn’t matter. So, I think it’s the consistency, we showed some patience and poise at times to beat it, but then there were times when we rushed ourselves and that’s why you see 31 turnovers. But we will take the win and clean that up next time.
On Karle Pace and D’Shara Booker… “We say this every game, it’s a team effort. Some nights it’s one person over the other and tonight wasn’t Yamia’s night, but it doesn’t change her meaning and her impact on our team. I think Karle and Shy, especially being upperclassmen and seniors, I am glad that they were able to come in and be poised and solid the entire night. It helped out our young players, they kind of fed off that confidence and we were able to be efficient and get the win.”
Next Up For APSU Women’s Basketball
The Austin Peay State University women’s basketball team returns home and will have a red out when it plays a Thursday, January 27th game against league-leading Belmont (10-6, 6-1 OVC) in the Winfield Dunn Center that begins at 5:00pm.
The Governors then hit the road for a January 29th game at Tennessee Tech that starts at 5:30pm, before hosting Murray State, February 3rd, in Clarksville.
Austin Peay 72, Tennessee State 69
Austin Peay Stats
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Tennessee State Stats