Clarksville, TN – That would be five in a row.
A Karle Pace floater with 1.2 seconds left in overtime hit nothing but the bottom of the net, giving the Austin Peay State University (APSU) women’s basketball team its fifth-straight win against Murray State in a dramatic 69-67 Ohio Valley Conference bout, Thursday, in the Winfield Dunn Center.
However, the Governors answered the Racers’ game-opening run with an 8-2 run of their own. An old-fashioned three-point play from D’Shara Booker, a Yamia Johnson layup, and a Pace triple for the first of her game-high 23 points tied the game at eight with 6:53 left to play in the first quarter.
After tying the score, a Pace three at the 4:56 mark and a Nina De Leon Negron free throw with 26 seconds left were the only points the APSU Govs were able to get in the remainder of the first quarter and the Racers held a 17-12 lead after ten minutes of basketball.
The second period belonged to the Govs. After a Macey Turley jumper 1:26 into the quarter put the Racers ahead by seven, 19-12, Austin Peay State University went on a quick 8-0 run that needed just 1:04 off the clock.
A Pace three-pointer with 6:44 left in the half sparked the run before a Kasey Kidwell steal led to a wide-open, fast-break layup for Booker. Pace ended the run just how it started, with a three-ball to give the Govs their first lead of the game, 20-19, with 5:40 left in the first half.
After the Racers retook a three-point lead, Pace buried her fifth three-pointer of the night – improving to five-for-five from three-point range – in just the first half to tie the score at 23 with 3:33 left to play. An Alexis Burpo layup on the ensuing possession gave Murray State the lead again, 25-23, but the Racers would not score for the final 3:06 of the first half.
On the other hand, Austin Peay State University closed the opening half on a 9-0 run. Kidwell and Lyric Cole layups gave the Govs a two-point advantage, then it was a Pace jumper that put her team ahead, 29-25, with 1:00 left on the clock and gave her 17 points in the first half. A Cole steal set up APSU’s final possession of the first half, with Kidwell connecting on a corner three to cap the run and give the Governors a 32-25 advantage at the break.
Just 20 seconds into the second half, Austin Peay State University built its biggest lead of the contest, 34-25, when Ella Sawyer knocked down a jumper from just outside the paint. But the nine-point lead did not last for long; an untimely cold spell plagued the Governors and Murray State capitalized by going on an 18-2 run that lasted 8:06 and built a 43-36 lead with a 1:34 left in the third period.
Austin Peay State University halted the Racers’ run with the final bucket of the third period, a Johnson three-pointer at the 1:07 mark that cut the deficit to just four points, 43-39, at the start of the final quarter of regulation.
The fourth period started with a pair of Murray State three-pointers on either side of a Pace layup, as the Racers built their biggest lead of the game, 49-41, with 8:16 left in regulation.
Austin Peay State University and Murray State traded baskets during the middle part of the fourth quarter and with 2:36 left to play, the Racers took the lead back to eight points, 57-49, on a pair of McKay free throws.
The McKay free throws were Murray State’s final points in regulation. A Kirby triple and a tough finish at the rim for Johnson cut the deficit to just three points with 56 seconds remaining. After a defensive stop for the APSU Govs, Johnson drew a foul on a three-point attempt and proceeded to knock down all three free throws to tie the game at 57 with 8.5 seconds left to play.
The Racers got three looks at the rim at the end of regulation, but none of the shots fell and the Governors went to overtime for the first time this season.
It was a back-and-forth battle in overtime. A layup on the first possession gave Booker her second-career double-double and gave the Govs a two-point lead, but a pair of Turley free throws tied the score at 59 with 3:46 left to play. With 3:24 left to play, another Turley free throw gave the Racers a one-point, 60-59. On Austin Peay State University’s next trip down the floor, Booker drew a foul on Murray State’s Katelyn Young – the OVC’s leading scorer and rebounder – disqualifying her from the final 3:12 of the contest.
A Johnson three with 2:25 left in overtime put the Governors ahead, 62-60, but another McKay bucket on the ensuing possession tied the score at 62 with 2:01 left on the clock.
With 57 seconds left on the clock, APSU went back ahead by two, 66-64, on a Pace layup. But the McKay responded again for Murray State and buried a three-pointer to take a one-point advantage, 67-66 with 30 seconds left in overtime.
Coming out of the timeout, Pace made her move to the basket with six seconds left on the clock, coming off a Booker screen to the left side of the lane where she buried a left-handed floater over Turley with 1.2 seconds left in overtime. Murray State was able to get one final look to tie the game as time expired, but a Turley jumper was no good and Austin Peay State University picked up its seventh-straight win against the Racers on Dave Loos Court.
Karle Pace. The Clarksville native grew up watching the Austin Peay-Murray State rivalry and played against the Racers for four years while at Eastern Illinois, but she had never experienced one of the best rivalries in college basketball from the court.
Pace scored 23 points, grabbed six rebounds, dished out four assists, and buried a game-winning floater in overtime, she was the difference in this one.
Austin Peay State University won its fifth-straight game against Murray State and improved to 49-45 in the all-time series.
The APSU Govs are 7-1 against Murray State since the beginning of 2019.
The 93rd all-time meeting between the Governors and Racers is the most games Austin Peay has played against any opponent in program history.
Austin Peay State University improved to 9-1 in the Dunn Center this season. The Governors’ nine wins at home are tied with Murray State for the most home wins in the OVC this season, but the Governors’ .900 winning percentage at home is the best mark in the conference this season.
Murray State outscored Austin Peay State University, 32-30, in the paint and the Govs won for just the fourth time this season when losing the battle in the paint.
The APSU Govs turned the ball over a season-low seven times and forced 13 Murray State turnovers. Austin Peay State University capitalized and outscored the Racers, 17-6, in points off turnovers – improving to 11-1 this season when they score more points off turnovers than their opponent.
Karle Pace scored 23 points – her third game with 20-plus points in the last four contests – to lead the Govs in scoring for the eighth time this season.
Pace knocked down a season-high five three-pointers and was perfect from three-point range. Her five triples are the best single-game mark by a Gov this season.
Pace grabbed a season-high six rebounds – one of her career-high – and dished out four assists.
D’Shara Booker posted her second-career double-double with 14 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. It was her first double-double since a 10-point, 10-rebound performance at Jacksonville State (1/23/21).
Yamia Johnson scored in double-figures for the 19th time this season with 15 points, she was a perfect five-for-five from the free-throw line.
Ella Sawyer dished out a team-high five assists to lead APSU in helpers for the ninth time this season.
Kasey Kidwell hit a three-pointer for the second-straight game and scored seven points – her best performance since scoring eight points against Morehead State, on January 8th.
Kidwell also matched her season-high with four assists.
Next Up For APSU Women’s Basketball
The Austin Peay State University women’s basketball team travels to Morehead State for a Saturday game against the Eagles at Johnson Arena in Morehead, Kentucky that starts at 1:00pm CT.
APSU then return home to host a February 10th contest against Southeast Missouri that begins at 5:00pm and a February 12th contest against Tennessee State in the Dunn Center with a 1:30pm start time.
Murray State 67, Austin Peay 69
Murray State Stats
Austin Peay Stats
DE LEON NEGRON
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