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APSU Women’s Basketball defeats Eastern Kentucky 73-55 in ASUN Tournament play at the Dunn Center

APSU Women's BasketballClarksville, TN Shamarre Hale and Anala Nelson combined for 41 points as the Austin Peay State University (APSU) women’s basketball earned its first-ever ASUN Conference Championship victory in a 73-55 win against Eastern Kentucky, Sunday, in the Winfield Dunn Center.

The Unanimous ASUN Sixth Player of the Year and a Second Team All-Conference selection, Hale led Austin Peay (17-11, 12-6 ASUN) with a game-high 23 points and matched her season-high mark with 13 rebounds in the win. The Chicago, Illinois native also tallied a career-high nine free throws on 10 attempts, which are the most by a Gov this season.

Nelson finished second in the game with 18 points – the most by a freshman in a postseason game in over 15 seasons. Her seven made field goals and 70.0 field-goal percentage also were career-best marks.

Austin Peay State University controlled momentum early in what likely is the final game on Dave Loos Court and in the Winfield Dunn Center, leading 15-5 six and a half minutes into the first quarter after holding Eastern Kentucky (18-14, 11-7 ASUN) to 2-for10 from the floor and 0-for-5 from beyond the arc.

The Colonels made their final three shots of the first quarter to cut APSU’s lead to 20-14 to begin the second quarter.

Austin Peay State University made its first five shots of the second quarter, extending its lead 32-19 five minutes in. A basket by EKU’s Antwainette Walker ended a three-minute, 10-2 APSU scoring run and was the final basket by either team for nearly three minutes.

Four-straight points by Nelson followed by Hale’s second layup of the afternoon gave the APSU Govs a 38-21 advantage with 90 seconds remaining in the half. 

After the Colonels split a pair of free throws with six seconds remaining in the second quarter, Nelson drove the length of the court, split a pair of EKU defenders standing just outside of the restricted area and laid at the buzzer.

An ASUN All-Freshman Team selection, Nelson led the Govs with eight points in the second quarter, while Hale led APSU with 15 points, six rebounds and a 5-for-5 mark from the field throughout the game’s first 20 minutes.

The APSU Govs scored 20 points in each of the game’s first two quarters, making it just the third time this season – and the first since the team’s February 4th win at EKU – that they recorded at least 20 points in back-to-back periods. 

Austin Peay State University maintained its double-digit advantage throughout the third quarter after holding the Colonels to just three makes on eight attempts.

APSU opened the fourth quarter on a three-minute, 7-0 run to take a game-high 22-point lead with 7:05 remaining. A 9-0 EKU run later in the quarter cut Austin Peay State University’s lead to 10 with 2:20 left, but it was the closest the game would get, as APSU forced nine-straight EKU misses in the game’s final 2:04.

The Difference

Efficiency. Despite taking 15 fewer attempts than Eastern Kentucky, Austin Peay State University made nine more baskets than the Colonels. APSU’s 55.6 field-goal percentage is its second-best mark of the season, while its 26.7 field-goal percentage defense is its third-best mark of the 2022-23 campaign.

Inside the Box Score

Austin Peay State University secured its first ASUN Conference Championship victory in its first appearance in the tournament.

Head women’s basketball coach Brittany Young is the first coach in program history to earn a postseason win in each of their first two seasons. 

With the win, the APSU Govs secured their second trip to a conference tournament’s semifinals round in the last 12 seasons.

With Sunday likely being the last game in the Winfield Dunn Center, Austin Peay State University finished 362-398 in the arena it has called home since 1976.

Austin Peay State University improved to 93-79 all-time against ASUN Conference opponents and 39-47 against Eastern Kentucky.

The Governors now have won eight-straight games against Colonels and are 5-1 all-time against them in the postseason.

Shamarre Hale’s 23 points are tied for the second-most by Governor this season, while her 13 rebounds tie her own record for the most boards by a player this season.

Despite entering the game with a 63.5 free-throw percentage, Shamarre Hale went 9-for-10 from the stripe. Her nine free throws are a career-best mark and are the fifth-most by a player in a conference tournament game in program history.
Mariah Adams’ eight assists tie her season-best mark and are tied for the second-most assists by a Gov in a conference tournament game in program history.
Austin Peay State University scored 20 points in back-to-back quarters for the third time this season. It also scored 20 points in three quarters for the third time this season.
The APSU Govs’ eight second-quarter points allowed is tied for its fifth-best defensive mark in a quarter this season.

Coach’s Corner

With head women’s basketball coach Brittany Young

Overall Thoughts… “First of all, I am just thankful for the Clarksville community coming out this afternoon. We know everyone has been dealing with a lot over the last few days… The fans were here, active and cheering. The way last Saturday ended was not the result we wanted and we are just thankful that we had another opportunity. As far as the game goes itself, I am proud of these young ladies for coming and competing for 40 minutes. We faced EKU about a month ago at their place and had a substantial lead at halftime and kind of gave it up to where it became a very close ballgame. There were some times that happened this game, but overall, I am proud that we were able to get the job done and advance to the next round.”

On the offensive and defensive success… “[The offensive] has been the one piece that we have been waiting to start clicking. We have been pretty solid defensively this entire season. Our goal is to hold opponents to 52 points or less and we typically do that on a night-in and night-out basis. We have gotten great looks in some of our previous games, we just needed to see the ball go in. And I love that because I think it gives these young ladies confidence as we go on the road and look to battle Florida Gulf Coast at their place on Wednesday night.”

On the final win in the Dunn… “It is an amazing feeling. It was a sick feeling on Saturday [following a home loss to Lipscomb], because it was bigger than us. There are a lot of men and women who have been a part of making this building a successful place to play for many, many years. When you think about being the team that actually has the opportunity to close something, you want to close it the right way. I was so thankful when I heard that we still had that four seed locked up and that we would get at least one home game. We can go to sleep tonight feeling a lot better than we did last week because we know we did them justice.”

Next Up For APSU Women’s Basketball

The Austin Peay State University women’s basketball team advances to the ASUN Championship semifinals where it will face the ASUN Regular-Season Champions in No. 24 Florida Gulf Coast on March, 8th, in Fort Myers, Florida.


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