The Austin Peay State women’s basketball team appeared to be in danger of losing a second half lead for the second consecutive game and losing their fourth straight.
After a 14-point lead dwindled to just three in the first few minutes of the fourth quarter, Myah Leflore hit a transition layup that led to the Govs buckling down and finishing strong to claim a 61-51 victory over the Jacksonville State Gamecocks.
“One thing that I did like in the last three minutes is we started moving the ball again,” said APSU head coach David Midlick. “We got a transition basket. We didn’t stand and watch because when they made the run we did too much standing.
“I was proud of our team. I don’t think they panicked. They took what I said and the coaching staff said during the timeout and ran a few really good sets and the shots fell.”
The Govs started strong with a 20-point first quarter leading into a 17-point halftime lead. Nine different players scored in the first quarter for APSU, and 10 found the stat sheet in the game. Three players -- Maggie Knowles, D’Shara Booker and Tahanee Bennell -- even reached double-digit scoring.
“That’s how we have to play,” Midlick said. “I don’t think we have a player right now that [we say], ‘Hey, we’re throwing you the ball, go get us a basket’… I think it’s good to have multiple players play. I’m not going [to do] that just to get people in the game. They have to show us that we trust them in the game, but we stayed somewhat fresh and were able to make some shots in the second half of the fourth period because of the players we played.”
At the end of the day, it was defense that paved the way. The Gamecocks were held to shooting just 30% from the field, the third-lowest by an APSU opponent this season. While they only committed five turnovers, they managed just nine points off Gov turnovers and had just four assists on 18 made shots.
Once again, APSU dominated the glass, grabbing 46 rebounds to JSU’s 37 while nabbing 36 rebounds to limit second-chance opportunities.
The win snaps a three-game skid which had come on the heels of a five-game winning streak, moving the Governors up to 6-3 in OVC play. The Gamecocks fall to 4-3 in the conference season.
Austin Peay’s homestand will continue on Monday, Jan. 25 with a 6 p.m. date against rival Murray State.
Austin Peay (61): Maggie Knowles 11, D’Shara Booker 10, Tahanee Bennell 10, Brandi Ferby 8, Myah Leflore 5, Shay-Lee Kirby 5, Ella Sawyer 4, Nina De Leon Negron 3, Kemia Ward 3, Kelen Kenol 2.
Jacksonville State (51): Yamia Johnson 16, Kiana Johnson 10, Taylor Hawks 9, Jessie Day 4, Kennedy Gavin 4, Imari Martin 3, Nekiyah Thompson 3, Keiara Griffin 2.