Florence, AL – A career-high 22 points from Shamarre Hale led the Austin Peay State University (APSU) women’s basketball team to its fifth-straight ASUN Conference win in a 61-52 victory against North Alabama, Saturday, at Flowers Hall. The Governors now sit tied for first in the ASUN standings.
Hale led Austin Peay (11-6, 6-1 ASUN) in scoring for the third time in the last four games, as the Govs secured their longest winning streak since 2017.
North Alabama (7-11, 2-5 ASUN) scored the game’s first points on a three to take an early lead, but it was the only time the Lions held the advantage against APSU, who led for nearly 38 minutes in Saturday’s win.
A Tiya Douglas three-pointer gave APSU a five-point lead with 6:12 remaining in the first quarter, a lead it held into the frame’s media break.
It did not take long for the Govs to jump out to a double-digit advantage, as they soon found themselves up 10 after a steal-turned-layup by Hale and Douglas’ second triple of the night.
A pair of UNA free throws with 1:27 remaining were the final points for either team in a first quarter that saw the Govs make eight of their 13 shots from the field and three of their four three-pointers.
Austin Peay State University turned eight North Alabama turnovers into as many points in the first quarter, and led 24-16 heading into the second.
Jada Roberson scored the first two baskets of the second quarter, giving the Govs a game-high 12-point lead, but the Lions answered with a 6-0 run and trailed by just five at the quarter’s end after making 58.3 percent of their shots in the frame.
Hale led all scorers with nine points and four rebounds at the half which was followed by eight by Roberson.
North Alabama opened the second half with an old-fashioned three-point play to cut its deficit to 37-35. It was the first time the two teams had been within one score of one another since the 6:27 mark of the first quarter. Austin Peay answered with a 9-2 scoring run which was capped off by five-straight points by Hale.
Hale’s final score of the run, her first of two converted and-one opportunities, came with 5:04 remaining in the third quarter and was the final score by either team for over three minutes. A Lions’ layup and three-pointer ended the game’s scoring drought and tied it at 44 with 1:30 remaining. Hale split a pair of attempts at the charity stripe to give APSU a 45-44 lead heading into the game’s final 10 minutes.
Hale opened the second quarter with another layup and make at the line to give the Govs a four-point lead. The Govs and Lions traded scores after the media break and were separated by just two points after UNA’s Alexis Callins made a layup with 2:56 remaining
A Roberson driving layup was answered by a Lions’ free throw to bring the game to 56-52 in favor of the Govs with 2:07 left in regulation.
A layup by Hale followed by a trio of APSU free throws all but sealed the win for the visiting Governors who sit in a three-way tie with Florida Gulf Coast (18-3, 6-1 ASUN), Austin Peay, and Lipscomb (12-7, 6-1 ASUN) for first in the ASUN standings.
Shamarre Hale (Yes, again. And no, not sorry.). Hale’s 22 points and nine rebounds were both more that of North Alabama’s top two leading scorer and rebounder… combined.
Inside the Box Score
Austin Peay State University improved to 3-2 all-time against North Alabama and 84-71 all-time against ASUN Conference opponents in the win.
The APSU Govs also improved to 4-0 on Saturday games this season.
For the second time in four games, Shamarre Hale set a career-high in scoring with 22 points.
Hale’s 22 points are the second-most by a Gov this season, while her nine rebounds are the fifth most.
Austin Peay State University’s 6-1 start to ASUN play is its best start in conference action since beginning 11-1 in OVC action during the 2003-04 season.
Austin Peay State University’s 24 first-quarter points are tied for its third-most points in a quarter this season and its most in a quarter since scoring 25 in the fourth quarter against UNC Ashville on December 21st.
After Liberty upset league-leading Florida Gulf Coast
With head women’s basketball coach Brittany Young
Overall thoughts … “We’re growing up a little bit. I told the team that in a game like this in an environment like this, we are not going to get many calls our way. North Alabama’s style is so drastically different, and, because of that, they are going to be in every ballgame they play. Overall, it was two contrasting styles and one style had to prevail. And you see they scored 52 points, and that was our style and our pace and that showed.
On this season’s defense… “We are putting our head down and taking it one day at a time and trying to trust the process. We have a lot of areas that we can still improve on. Like I have told these young ladies, it does not always have to be perfect, sometimes you wish for these Cinderella, storybook seasons and, while it can still be that, it may not look exactly how we expected it to look. The season is filled with ups and downs, highs and lows, but if you can withstand it and keep your composure and keep working through both the good and bad days, something special can happen.
On the team never trailing after the game’s first score… “That’s resiliency. We talked about it before the game, you cannot be emotional because [UNA] is going to make threes. I’m glad we held them to five… An example of us holding our composure was when two of their players set a screen and, I thought we guarded it perfectly, but they still knocked it down in our face. We came back to the huddle making sure they were still locked in and they just told us, ‘hey, we were there.’ That type of composure where you don’t get down with certain shots or runs – you find a way to counter and swing back and we did that.”
On the ASUN standings.… “We were ninth in the preseason poll largely because I did not vote for us. I wanted bulletin-board material. These young ladies can’t worry about preseason rankings because it means nothing. The preseason rankings mean nothing. The rankings you want to worry about are the final ones. It doesn’t matter what place we are in right now. I don’t want them to overthink about where we are at right now because then we will fall short of our goal. All we can do every week is double up, get two wins and be ready for the next game.”
Next Up For APSU Women’s Basketball
The Austin Peay State University women’s basketball team returns to the confines of the Winfield Dunn Center when it hosts Liberty for “We Back Pat Night” on Thursday at 6:00pm.