Nashville, TN – The Austin Peay State University (APSU) women’s basketball team clinched a home quarterfinals game in the upcoming 2023 ASUN Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament in its 76-71 victory against Lipscomb, Thursday, at Allen Arena.
Austin Peay (16-10, 12-5 ASUN) broke the program record with just four turnovers in Thursday’s win after tying the record with five turnovers earlier this month against Bellarmine.
Over 60 percent of the APSU Govs’ points came between the lanes, as the team tied for a season-best 46 points in the paint in the win against the Bisons.
Mariah Adams led four Govs in double-figures, as the Little Rock, Arkansas native tallied a season-high and team-best 23 points which is one off her career-high set last season at Old Dominion. All 13 of her second-half points came in APSU’s 27-point fourth quarter.
Anala Nelson had another career outing, as the freshman had a season-high 15 points and six rebounds on 6-of-13 shooting from the field.
Lipscomb (18-10, 12-4 ASUN) led for the first 31 minutes, but had a nearly double-digit third quarter lead come to an end when the Govs took their first lead of the game early in the fourth quarter.
But now for the buildup of the Govs’ third-best comeback of the season.
The Bisons controlled momentum in a first quarter in which they shot over 64 percent from the field in.
Gabby Zapata Smalls’ first score trimmed Austin Peay State University’s deficit to 7-6 three minutes into the opening quarter, but was the Govs’ final points for over three minutes, as a 5-0 Lipscomb run extended the Bisons lead to six, before a pair of Adams free throws followed by Hale’s first of four scores brought APSU within two points a few minutes later. Lipscomb answered Hale’s score with a 9-4 run to end the first quarter and take a 21-14 lead.
The Bisons went 7-for-12 from the field in the second quarter to maintain a multi-score advantage throughout it; however, the ASUN’s second-best three-point shooting team was held without a triple on a pair of attempts, which helped the Govs trim their deficit to 37-31 at the break.
Austin Peay State University was held to just one made shot on their first seven attempts of the third quarter, as Lipscomb regained a nine-point lead with 5:19 remaining in the frame, but scores by Hale and Nelson sparked a 13-5 APSU scoring run to make it a one-point game – 50-49 – entering the game’s final 10 minutes.
A Lipscomb layup to open the fourth quarter was answered by an Adams’ pull-up jumper. A Bisons turnover on the succeeding possession was followed by a Jada Roberson driving layup with 8:36 remaining which gave Austin Peay its first lead of the day at 53-52.
The two teams traded shots from beyond the arc, with Adams notching just her sixth three-pointer of the season, resulting in the night’s final lead change. The Bisons tied the game at 58 with 6:53 remaining, but were unable to retake the advantage, as the brief stalemate was answered by six-straight Govs’ points.
Austin Peay State University made nine of its first 11 fourth-quarter shots and led 71-61 with 1:48 remaining and on the heels of a 7-0 run. Despite a pair of late makes to bring the game within five a minute later, Adams made four of APSU’s final five free throw attempts, in turn, securing Austin Peay State University’s 12th ASUN win of the season and clinching its home quarterfinals matchup.
The biggest difference was easily the APSU Govs’ lack of turnovers, but an honorable mention has to go to the one-two punch of Mariah Adams and Anala Nelson.
Austin Peay State University turned the ball over just four times and surrendered a season-low four points off those turnovers while scoring 21 points on Lipscomb’s 16 mishaps.
As for Adams and Nelson, the duo both set season-best marks in scoring and each had a 4:1 assist/turnover ratio in 38 minutes of action.
The pair combined for 38 points, 11 rebounds eight assists, 58 percent from the field, 67 percent from three and 73 percent from the charity stripe.
Inside the Box Score
Austin Peay State University clinched an ASUN Tournament home game in the win.
APSU’s four turnovers are the fewest in a game in program history.
Austin Peay State University improved to 22-6 all-time against Lipscomb and now is 10-3 against the Bisons on their home court.
The Governors also improved to 92-77 all-time against ASUN Conference opponents.
Mariah Adams’ 23 points are the second-most by a Governor this season, trailing only a 25-point outing by Yamia Johnson in the season opener against Cumberland on November 7th.
Adams’ eight made field goals are her most this season, while her 72.7 field-goal percentage also is her second-best mark in games that she made at least four baskets in.
The APSU Govs trailed by as many as nine points, its third-largest lead overcome, trailing only a 20-point comeback at Murray State on December 13th, and a nine-point rally against Fairleigh Dickinson on November 22nd.
Anala Nelson’s 15 points and six rebounds are a career-high for the freshman guard, while her six made field goals are tied for her best mark of the season.
Austin Peay State University’s 27 fourth-quarter points are tied for its second-most points in a quarter this season, trailing only a 32-point fourth quarter at Murray State.
The APSU Govs’ 46 points in the paint are tied for the most this season.
The Governors earned their fourth win of the season when trailing at the end of the third quarter.
Austin Peay State University improved to 5-6 in games played on Thursday and 3-4 when wearing black jerseys.
Shamarre Hale went 4-for-7 from the field, marking her 19th-straight game of recording at least a 50.0 field-goal percentage.
Anala Nelson’s three-pointer with 29 seconds remaining in the third quarter extended Austin Peay State University’s streak of consecutive games with a triple to 493.
APSU extended its streak of wins when scoring at least 70 points to 25 games.
With head women’s basketball coach Brittany Young
On the Bisons leading for the first 32 minutes… “Sometimes it is just like that. Sometimes, you just need to clinch and hold on until you have the right opportunity to strike. I thought that a big turning point for us was the third quarter. That third-quarter defense propelled us into the fourth quarter. That is just our identity, it is just who we are. Things like that energize us. These young ladies have battled so much adversity this season, but I loved the vibe in practice all week long and even today in shoot-around and the pregame talk. Even though we were down for a bit, I always felt like we were right there because of the chemistry throughout the players on the court and on the bench.”
On the just four turnovers… “That stat allowed us to get off 17 more shot attempts than they had. Typically, those are 17 possessions lost because of turnovers. If our young ladies can buy into doing this consistently, we can put ourselves into winning most games we compete in. I am just so proud of our guard play today, with Mariah [Adams], I thought Jada [Roberson] hit some big buckets, and Anala [Nelson] just came alive in the second half and hit some timely buckets for us. It was a team effort overall.”
On playing Lipscomb again on Saturday… “There may not be a lot of time for adjustments, but there will be some. We are going to go back and watch this one. We’ll get back to the drawing board to look at a few things. Tomorrow will be a taxing day. We had a lot of players who played 30-plus minutes who will need to get healed up.”
On the final *regular season* game in the Dunn on Saturday… “I have some good news. Saturday may be our last regular season game in the Dunn Center, but it will not be our last-ever one in it. It has been something that we have been talking about as a team since the summer. We knew this would be the last season in the Dunn. We are excited about moving to F&M Bank Arena, but we want to close out the Dunn the right way. For us, that is not only with a win, but playing the game the right way and give our fans something to cheer for. Saturday will also be a special day for us, because we are going to honor several of our seniors who will be graduating with a degree in May.”
Next Up For APSU Women’s Basketball
As coach said in her final quote, Austin Peay State University women’s basketball prepares for its final regular season game in the Winfield Dunn Center when the Governors celebrate a Red Out Senior Day with a Saturday 3:00pm contest against Lipscomb.