Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University (APSU) head women’s basketball coach Brittany Young became the first head coach in program history to win 35 games in her first two seasons as the Governors earned their 10th ASUN Conference win in a 77-35 victory against North Florida, Thursday, in the Winfield Dunn Center.
With the win, Austin Peay State University also clinched its first-ever berth in the ASUN Women’s Basketball Tournament.
The Governors (15-7, 10-2 ASUN) posted their most complete game in the win against North Florida (6-16, 3-9 ASUN), shooting over 50 percent from the field and holding the Ospreys to just 27.8 percent from the floor.
The 35 points allowed are the fewest in the modern era of APSU women’s basketball, which dates to 1970, and are the fewest in any conference game since the Govs held Lambuth to 33 points on December 13th, 1937
The APSU Govs set the tone on both ends of the court throughout the first quarter, scoring 24 points in the frame and limiting the Ospreys to just four points on a 2-for-15 mark from the field.
APSU and UNF traded scores to open the game and were tied at four with 6:54 remaining in the quarter. The tie proved to be the final of the game, as the Govs went on their longest scoring run of the season to end the quarter.
Baskets by Mariah Adams and Anala Nelson gave the Govs an 8-4 lead at the media timeout and sparked a 20-0 run that saw the Govs make seven of their next nine shots and force 12-straight Ospreys’ misses.
In addition to their season-long scoring run, the Govs’ 20-point advantage in the first quarter is its highest point differential in any quarter this season.
Adams led the APSU Govs with eight points and four assists in the first quarter, as the Govs tallied more steals (five) than points allowed (four), while shooting 62.5 percent from the field and outscoring the Ospreys 14-4 in the paint.
North Florida ended its seven-minute scoring drought on a mid-range jumper less than a minute into the second quarter; however, it proved to be the only basket it would score until the two-minute mark of the frame. The Govs answered the Osprey’s basket with a 10-0 run to take a 36-6 lead with 3:51 remaining in the half.
Altogether, Austin Peay State University tallied a 32-2, 14-minute scoring run following UNF’s second made shot of the afternoon just three minutes into the game.
After making 12 of its first 19 shots from the floor to begin the game, the Govs were held to 2-of-10 from the floor to end the half, but maintained a 27-point lead heading into the break after holding the Ospreys to eight second-quarter points and a 2-for-11 mark to end the half.
Adams scored a game-high 10 points in the first half which was followed by nine points by Shamarre Hale, who made all three of her attempts from the field in the half.
Led by Hale, the APSU Govs’ bench outscored UNF’s 19-0 in the opening half. The Govs also forced more turnovers (13) than points allowed (12) in the half.
Gabby Zapata Smalls scored APSU’s first six points of the second half, as the Govs extended their lead to 30 (45-15) two and a half minutes into the third quarter.
After being held scoreless for over three minutes, six-straight APSU points extended the Govs’ lead to 52-19 with 1:25 remaining in the quarter after Nelson made her first of two three-pointers.
Austin Peay State University maintained a lead of at least 30 points throughout the fourth quarter and reached a game-high 44-point advantage midway through the quarter.
North Florida made three of its first four fourth-quarter attempts, cutting its deficit to 57-27 with 8:12 remaining, but it was the closest the game got for the remainder of the night. Austin Peay State University forced five-straight Ospreys missed shots and went on a five-minute, 14-0 run in which the APSU Govs made seven of their nine attempts.
After jumping out to its game-high 44-point advantage, Austin Peay State University its monumental lead and earned its 15th win of the season in a 77-35 triumph against the Ospreys.
Austin Peay State University’s season-best 20-0, first quarter-ending run gave it all the momentum it needed to capture its 10th ASUN win of the season. The APSU Govs forced 12-straight UNF misses in the run.
After Osprey’s ended the run with a basket inside the arc, the Govs then forced seven-straight misses. Altogether, the 1-19 UNF mark from the field stretched 14 minutes.
Inside the Box Score
Austin Peay State University clinched its first-ever ASUN Women’s Basketball Tournament seed in Thursday’s win against the Ospreys.
APSU improved to 1-0 all-time against North Florida and 91-74 against ASUN Conference opponents.
The 42-point win is the largest of any conference game in program history.
The 35 points allowed are the fewest points allowed in a conference game in program history.
Austin Peay State University’s starting five of Mariah Adams, Anala Nelson, Jada Roberson, Tiya Douglas, and Gabby Zapata Smalls improved to 4-0 this season – the most wins by a starting unit this season.
Head coach Brittany Young became the first head coach in program history to win 35 games in her first two seasons.
Young also became just the third coach in program history to record a winning record in each of their first two seasons.
In the win, Austin Peay State University set the program with its sixth-straight winning season.
The APSU Govs extended their program record with their eighth-straight season of securing a winning record in conference play.
The 10-2 mark in conference play is the third-best mark in program history, trailing only a 12-1 mark in 2003-04 and a 16-0 conference record in 2002-03.
Austin Peay State University’s 20-0 run to end the fourth quarter is its longest-scoring run this season.
The APSU Govs’ 20-point advantage in the first quarter was their largest in any quarter this season.
The Govs allowed just one three-pointer on 20 attempts –its best defensive three-point percentage this season and the fourth time the team has held the opponent to just one make beyond the arc.
Anala Nelson set a career-high with 14 points in the win. She also set career highs in steals (five), made field goals (six), field goals attempted (11) and plus/minus (+34).
Nelson’s +34 plus/minus is the third-best by a Gov this season and increases her season total to +99.
Gabby Zapta Smalls scored her most points as a Gov with 14.
Zapata Smalls and Nelson each led the APSU Govs in scoring for the second time this season.
Nelson’s five steals are the third-most by a Gov this season and the most since Tiya Douglas had five takeaways at Chattanooga on November 12th.
APSU’s 20 points off turnovers are tied for its fifth most this season.
The Govs’ 35 bench points are the third most in a game this season and the most since the rotation scored 44 against Queens on January 8th.
With head women’s basketball coach Brittany Young
Overall thoughts… “I’ll start with our defense. Our defense has been the identity of this program. Having quarters when you hold opponents to four and eight points like we did in the first two and then nine in the third shows how solid we are defensively overall. We only gave up one three-point field goal and that is the type of defense we want to play. What I thought was the difference maker in this game though was our offensive execution, where we were able to have two quarters where we scored over 20 points. I talked to the team before the fourth quarter and just asked them who all has made a shot in college ball before, and they all raised their hands. We cannot be a team that just gets excited about shooting or scoring points because we want to play the right way, find the open teammate and execute and I think we did a solid job of that overall.”
On clinching an ASUN Tournament berth… “I have learned that you cannot take these things for granted. There are teams fighting right now to hopefully secure what we just secured today in the next few games. Being able to secure a berth with about three weeks left in conference play means we are on the right track and right where we are supposed to be. It is something we will discuss tomorrow in film, but the job is not finished. We are going to keep working and keep fighting for something a little bit greater than that.”
On her 35th win… “I am trying to be the best that I can be so this program can be the best that it can be. Two years ago when I embarked on this journey, I did not know what to expect. Every day you just wake up an try to do the best you can. To be able to make history means a lot not only to me, but also to my family. My parents were both raised by their grandparents and did not have a lot of opportunities. They had to stay and work on the farm and did not have the opportunities to play sports. The same was with my grandparents. But my family has always had a love for sports. When moments like this happen, I am excited to call my parents, siblings, uncles and aunts and hear their joy, but then I always think about my grandparents and others who have supported me that are no longer with us and just how proud they would be in moments like this.”
Next Up For APSU Women’s Basketball
The Austin Peay State University women’s basketball team will remain in the Dunn for its next game when it hosts Jacksonville in a Saturday contest at 1:00pm. Fans are encouraged to wear pink as APSU Athletics will be supporting breast cancer awareness with a “PEAYnk Out” against the Dolphins.