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Govs move to .500 in conference play

APSU Athletics Communications

By Meagan Rummage

APSU Athletics Communications

CHARLESTON, Ill. – Behind an explosive second quarter, Austin Peay downed Eastern Illinois, Saturday, bringing a sweet end to a tough four-game road swing.

Austin Peay (14-11, 7-7 OVC) revived their offense against the Panthers, draining their first three attempts from beyond the arc. The outside shooting forced the Eastern Illinois (2-23, 1-13 OVC) defense to respect the deep threat, opening up space inside for Brianne Alexander, who scored 10 points in the opening quarter, shooting 75.0 percent from the floor.

The Govs strong defense led to abundant offensive production in the second quarter. Austin Peay outrebounded the Panthers 24-10 in the first half, including 15 defensive rebounds, collecting seven assists on 14 made field goals. The Governors secured 10 points off of five Eastern Illinois turnovers en-route to a 29-point second period, the most in a second quarter all season, allowing the Govs to take a 43-29 lead into the half.

Both teams came out sluggish after the halftime break, but the Govs persistence on the defensive end allowed them to stretch their lead to 17 points at the media timeout of the third period. Keisha Gregory picked up where she left on in the first half, scoring seven of the Govs 10 points in the third period, with Arielle Gonzalez-Varner tallying five rebounds, including four offensive boards, to give the Austin Peay offense a boost heading into the fourth period.

The Governors posted 22 points in the fourth quarter behind Gregory’s nine point outing, and Falon Baker shooting 50.0 percent from behind the arc in the final 10 minutes. The Govs lead lingered around 12 points for much of the final quarter before Eastern Illinois closed the gap to nine. The Panthers could not overcome the Govs near 60.0 percent shooting percentage in the fourth quarter, as Austin Peay wrapped up their four-game road swing with a 75-66 victory.

Gregory led the Govs with a career-high 26 points and five rebounds, going 9-for-9 from the free throw line. Alexander also posted double digits for the fifth-straight game, scoring 18 points and pulling down seven rebounds.

Arielle Gonzalez-Varner once again brought a spark off the bench, racking up 10 rebounds and nine points in her 23 minutes off the bench. The Governors scored 30 points in the paint and 14 points off 10 Eastern Illinois turnovers.

Game Notes

  • With the win, Austin Peay gets back to .500 (7-7) in conference play.
  • The Govs get the season sweep against Eastern Illinois, having won the previous meeting Dec. 30, 69-59.
  • The Governors scored 29 points in the second quarter, the most scored in the second period this season, two points shy of breaking the quarter record (30) for the season set Nov. 29 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
  • The Govs shot above 55.0 percent in the second and fourth quarters, 56.3 percent in the second period and 57.1 percent in the fourth.
  • Gregory’s 27 points tops her career high by 10, and is her third game in double figures since a suffering a shoulder injury at the end of the nonconference season.
  • Gonzalez-Varner recorded 10 rebounds, leading the Govs in boards for the third-straight game.
  • Alexander had 14 first half points, shooting 6-for-6 from the free-throw line. The Govs, as a team, shot 12-for-12 from the stripe through the first two quarters.
  • The Govs outrebounded the Panthers 24-10 in the first half, pulling down nine offensive rebounds.
  • The Governors ended with a +17 rebounding margin in the game (43-26), the largest rebounding margin of the season.
  • Five Governors shot 40.0 percent or better for the game: Alexander (66.7), Nieja Crawford (66.7), Gregory (57.1), Gonzalez-Varner (42.9) and Bri Williams (40.0).
  • Two Governors scored in double digits: Gregory (27) and Alexander (18).

Up Next

The Governors will return to the Dunn Center after a two week road trip 5:15 p.m., Thursday against Tennessee Tech.

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