Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University women’s basketball team never trailed in its final Ohio Valley Conference game in the Dunn Center, as four Governors scored in double-figures en route to a 71-61 Senior Day victory over Tennessee Tech, Saturday.
After Ella Sawyer and Shay-Lee Kirby hit two more threes to stretch the Governors lead to 12-0 with 5:34 left in the opening period, Tennessee Tech (17-9, 12-4 OVC) was finally able to get on the board when Anna Walker hit a jumper with 4:39 left on the clock.
After Anna Jones converted a layup for the first two of her team-high 20 points to bring the Golden Eagles back within 11 points, Lyric Cole went on a 4-0 run by herself to give the APSU Govs their biggest lead of the first half, 17-4, with 3:31 left in the first quarter.
Yamia Johnson got the final points of the opening period when she hit a turnaround jumper in the paint to give Austin Peay State University a 12-point, 21-9, advantage after 10 minutes.
Tennessee Tech was able to open the second quarter on a 4-0 run and trim the deficit to just eight points, 21-13, with 8:30 left before the break. After a Sawyer three-pointer pushed the Austin Peay State University lead back to 11 points, 24-13, at the 7:53 mark, the Governors and Golden Eagles traded baskets for just under the next seven minutes of the contest.
With 56 seconds left before the break, Tennessee Tech went on a 4-0 run to cut the APSU lead to just six points, 31-25, with 14 seconds remaining. But a Nina De Leon Negron three-pointer at the buzzer gave the Governors a nine-point advantage, 34-25, at the half.
Austin Peay State University opened the second half on a 7-2 run and extended its lead to 14 points, 41-27, in the first 2:59 of the third period. But a quick 5-0 spurt for the Golden Eagles brought the Governors’ lead back to single digits, 41-32, with 4:40 left in the third quarter.
With the APSU Govs leading 49-39 with 31 seconds left in the third quarter, a De Leon Negron layup was the final points of the frame and Austin Peay State University led 51-39 after 30 minutes of basketball.
The Governors built their biggest lead of the game to open the fourth period, with Kirby knocking down a three-pointer and Pace converting an old-fashioned three-point play to build a 57-39 lead with 8:03 left in the game.
With the 18-point lead still intact at the 5:29 mark, Tennessee Tech fouled Cole on three-straight possessions in an attempt to extend the game, but the freshman from Memphis went 3-for-6 from the charity stripe and Austin Peay State University still led by 15, 67-52, with 4:25 left to play.
APSU stretched the lead back to 18 points, 70-52, for the final time when Sawyer hit a pair of free throws at the 3:38 mark in the fourth period. Tennessee Tech was able to close the game on a 9-1 run, but it was not enough and Austin Peay State University cruised to its eighth wire-to-wire win of the season.
Austin Peay State University’s 12-0 start and 21-9 advantage in the first quarter. The Governors outscored the Golden Eagles by 12 points in the first 10 minutes and that is the difference in a 10-point game.
The APSU Govs picked up their first win against the Golden Eagles since a 72-65 victory on January 31st, 2019, in the Dunn Center.
The Governors improved to 12-28 all-time against Tennessee Tech in Clarksville.
Austin Peay State University picked up its league-leading 12th home win of the season. The Govs .923 winning percentage on Dave Loos Court is also the top mark in the league this season.
APSU shot 51.1 percent from the floor and improved to 8-2 when it shoots 50-percent or better from the field.
The Govs picked up their 18th win of the season, which matches the 2019-20 team for the most wins since the 2003-04 team won 23 contests.
The Governors knocked down eight three-pointers, which is the most that Tennessee Tech has given up in an OVC game this season.
The Govs scored 71 points and improved to 13-0 this season when they scores 70-or-more points in a contest.
Austin Peay State University matched its season-low with just seven turnovers while forcing Tennessee Tech to turn the ball over 13 times.
The Govs outscored the Golden Eagles, 22-5, in points off turnovers and improved top 14-2 when they score more points off turnovers than their opponent.
Nina De Leon Negron scored a career-high 17 points and led the Governors in scoring for the first time in her career.
De Leon Negron also matched her career-highs with six made field goals and nine field goal attempts.
De Leon Negron dished out a team-high four assists and led the Govs in assists for the team-best 12th time this season.
Lyric Cole scored in double-figures for the eighth time in her career with 14 points.
Cole attempted a career-high 12 free throws and made a career-best five free throws.
Cole and De Leon Negron each grabbed a team-high eight rebounds; Cole has led the APSU Govs on the glass a team-leading 13 times and De Leon Negron has done it three times this season.
Ella Sawyer scored a season-high 15 points, her best scoring performance since posting 15 points at Murray State (12/19/20).
Karle Pace scored in double-figures for the team-leading 21st time this season with 15 points.
Shay-Lee Kirby knocked down a pair of three-pointers, she has hit multiple threes in three-straight games.
Quotably, APSU Coach Brittany Young
Opening thoughts… “With losing the last two games and coming home, being able to start the game in that fashion, I think it just really energized our group. If maybe it happened in the reverse, those are things that could maybe stagnate use a little bit and make for a rocky night. I think that to be back at home, to see those shots go in, and to have the crowd we did tonight, I think that just energized us for 40 minutes.”
On defending the Dunn… “That is something that we are going to sit down and talk about as a team, because you want to take care of home. If you look at great teams, if you look at championship teams, they take care of home court. I thought we did a tremendous job of that on the season as a whole. In the one loss we had, an eight-point loss to UT Martin without several of our key pieces, I can take that. I can take the one kind of being an outlier game. For us to become who we are trying to become in the future, defending home court was just amazing this season.
On her senior class… “I think you always want to be a part of that group that’s known for change. I always said for Coach K [Mike Krzyzewski], he had Johnny Dawkins and all those guys who people remember because they really changed things in a different way. Their story has not ended, their book is not finished, so it is still yet to be determined. But there is without a doubt that they have come here and within one year really changed the culture of this program and they can remember that forever.”
Next Up For APSU Women’s Basketball
The Austin Peay State University women’s basketball team hits the road for its final two games, starting with a Thursday contest at SIU Edwardsville that starts at 5:30pm. The Governors then travel to Eastern Illinois to wrap up the season with a Saturday contest at Lantz Arena in Charleston, Illinois with a tip-off time of 1:00pm.
Tennessee Tech 61, Austin Peay 71
Tennessee Tech Stats
Austin Peay Stats
DE LEON NEGRON
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