Clarksville, TN – 25 points for Karle Pace and 22 points for Yamia Johnson, that’s what it took for the Austin Peay State University (APSU) women’s basketball team to finally bring an end to a nine-game losing streak, which dated back to the 2015, against Belmont with a 70-68 victory, Thursday, in a Red Out at the Winfield Dunn Center.
After a Destinee Wells three-pointer ended the Bruins game-opening scoring drought, Pace buried another three-pointer to give the Governors their largest lead of the game, 12-3, with 4:37 left in the first period. Austin Peay State University would build a nine-point advantage twice more in the first quarter, however, the Bruins closed the opening period on a 5-0 run and Austin Peay State University led, 17-13, after 10 minutes of basketball.
A Shay-Lee Kirby three-pointer opened the second half and put the Govs ahead, 20-13, but a 7-0 Belmont run erased the advantage and tied the contest, 20-20, with 6:22 left. Austin Peay State University halted the Bruins’ run when Pace connected on a jumper in the paint with 5:08 left on the clock and the teams began trading baskets for the final five minutes of the first half.
With the APSU leading, 25-24, with 1:35 left before the break, Belmont’s Tuti Jones got the final points of the opening half when she connected from three-point range to give the Bruins a 27-25 lead after 20 minutes of action.
Austin Peay State University retook the lead, 28-27, on the second half’s possession when Nina De Leon Negron connected from three-point range just 30 seconds in the quarter. But three-pointers on three-straight possessions gave Belmont its biggest lead of the contest, 36-30, at the 7:55 mark in the third period.
However, the Governors quickly erased the Belmont lead with a three-pointer from Kirby, a two-pointer jumper from Pace, a layup from Johnson, and just like that, the APSU Govs led, 37-36, with 6:03 left on the clock.
But the Bruins answered again, burying their fourth-straight triple without a miss to retake a 39-37 lead with 5:41 left in the third quarter. Like the second quarter, the end of the third quarter saw the Govs and Bruins trade buckets.
Austin Peay State University was able to create a little separation with eight seconds left in the third period when D’Shara Booker knocked down a free throw to go ahead, 50-46.
However, it was two Belmont free throws with six seconds left in the third quarter that cut the advantage to just two-points, 50-48, at the start of the fourth period.
At the 7:46 mark in the final quarter, Austin Peay State University trailed 51-50, but the two sides began to trade baskets when Cole knocked down quick back-to-back buckets to give the Governors a 54-51 lead with 6:37 left in the game.
Wells connected from three-point range again to tie the game, 54-54, then it was two free throws from De Leon Negron to retake a two-point lead for the APSU Govs, but again the Bruins answered with a Kiki Britzmann layup to even the score at 56-56 with 5:33 left.
Then the tide began to turn.
Like in the Austin Peay State University dramatic 72-69 win over Tennessee State just five days previous, it was a four-point play that put the momentum squarely behind first-year head coach Brittany Young‘s team. This time however, the four-point ignited the sea of red in the Dunn Center as Pace buried a deep three-pointer, drew the foul, and connected at the charity stripe for a 60-56 lead with 5:05 left in the game.
A Belmont free throw brought the lead back to three points before Johnson hit two free throws of her own to push the advantage back to five points. Then it was another Pace triple that gave APSU its biggest lead of the second half, 65-57, with just 3:10 left to play.
Belmont would not go away quietly though, as the Bruins scored five quick points to bring the Governors’ advantage back to just three points at the 2:01 mark. A Conley Chinn layup with 18 seconds remaining brought Belmont back within a single point, but the Bruins were forced to foul Pace on the next possession and the Clarksville native buried both free ones to stretch the lead back to three, 69-66 with 14 seconds left to play.
With a chance to tie the game, the Bruins opted to go for two and Jones missed a layup with 10 seconds on the clock. Kirby grabbed the rebound on the missed Belmont layup and was immediately fouled, she proceeded to knock down the first of her two free throw and extend the lead to 70-66 with just three seconds to play.
With the Governors lead by four, a Belmont layup as time expired was too little, too late, as Austin Peay State University won its fourth-straight OVC contest and handed the Bruins their second-consecutive OVC loss.
Next Up For APSU Women’s Basketball
The Austin Peay State University women’s basketball team is on the road Saturday, January 29th, 2022 for a 5:30pm CT match against Tennessee Tech.
Belmont 68, Austin Peay 70
Austin Peay Stats
DE LEON NEGRON