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Austin Peay knows EKU could ruin plans

Robert Smith/Tnsports360.com

By Casey Crigger

APSU Athletics Communications

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – After creating some space in the OVC postseason race, Austin Peay will have another chance to do so when they host a 1:30 p.m., Saturday game in the Dunn Center against Eastern Kentucky, who sits just a game behind the Governors for the eighth and final spot in the OVC Women’s Basketball Championship.

The Governors put a game of separation between themselves and Murray State last time out, and will look to put two games between themselves and the Colonels, Saturday. Eastern Kentucky has one back-to-back games for the first time in OVC play, and will put that streak to the test against Austin Peay as they look to run down the Governors in the OVC standings.

Game sponsor Altra Federal Union will sponsor a pink Govs shirt giveaway in conjunction with Austin Peay’s Breast Cancer Awareness PEAYnk Game.

Scouting the Colonels

After going winless in Ohio Valley Conference play and finishing in last place a season ago, Eastern Kentucky was picked to finish in 12th place again in both the OVC Coaches and SIDs Poll and the OVC Media Poll. But after the first 13 games of the OVC season, the Colonels sit at 4-9 in conference play, having won back-to-back games to move within one game of the final two spots in the OVC Basketball Championship.

Eastern Kentucky is one of the lowest scoring teams in the OVC, averaging just 58.1 points per game this season and 53.8 points per game in conference play — both of which rank 11th in the league. On the defensive end the Colonels have held their opponents to an average of 64.1 points per game this season, which gives them the ninth best scoring margin in the OVC at minus six.

The Colonels sit in the middle of the OVC in three-point shooting, averaging 5.9 made triples per contest. Behind the arc, Eastern Kentucky is led by junior Terri Goodlett, who has made 31 triples this season and is averaing 1.5 per game.

Goodlett also leads the Colonels in scoring, averaging 9.2 points per game, which ranks 27th in the conference. In OVC play, Goodlett is averaing 12.1 points per game, which is good for 10th in the league. Bria Bass is Eastern Kentucky’s second leading scorer, she rounds out the top-30 in the OVC, averaging 8.5 points per game.

Three-time and reigning OVC Newcomer of the Week I’Liyah Green leads Eastern Kentucky in rebounding, averaging 7.4 boards per game, she ranks ninth in the conference.

Series History

This is the 82nd meeting in a series that dates back to 1978; the Governors trail in the all-time series 34-47, but have won each of the last three meetings. On the Govs three-game winning streak against the Colonels, they are winning by an average of 23 points per game.  

On the road at McBrayer Arena in Richmond, Kentucky, Austin Peay picked up an 80-60 win last time out against Eastern Kentucky, clinching a spot in the 2019 Ohio Valley Conference Basketball Championship.

Arielle Gonzalez-Varner led the way for the Governors against the Colonels, shooting 64 percent from the field en route to a game-high 20 points. Gonzalez-Varner also led the way on the glass, grabbing a game-high nine boards.

The duo of Keisha Gregory and Gabby Gregory each connected for a trio of three-pointers en route to 13 points. Keisha Gregory also added four assists and three steals to help led the Governors to the postseason for the fourth-straight season.

Leading the way for Eastern Kentucky, Abby Wright posted 16 points and six rebounds. Shay Solomon chipped in 14 points, five rebounds, and five assists, but the Colonels came up short  and dropped their second game of the season against the Govs.

What To Watch For…

  • Once again Austin Peay will have a chance to create some space in the postseason race, as Eastern Kentucky sits one game behind the Governors, who are tied for the eighth and final spot in the OVC Basketball Championship.
  • A win would extend the Governors winning streak against EKU to four games, the longest since the Govs won seven-straight against the Colonels from Feb. 2, 2002 to March 6, 2004.
  • Nationally, Austin Peay ranks 15th in three-point field goals made per game (8.5), 14th in three-point field goals made (205), and seventh in three-point field goals attempted (662).
  • The Governors committed a season low six turnovers against Murray State, which is the fewest since the Govs committed five turnovers against Southeast Missouri, January 13, 2007.
  • The Govs defense is averaging 20.8 turnovers forced per game, which ranks 22nd in the country and leads the Ohio Valley Conference.
  • The Governors lead the OVC with a plus 4.46 turnover margin and are the only team in the conference that has forced more than 460 turnovers this season.
  • The Govs became the third team in program history to make 200-plus threes in a season when they knocked down eight triples last time out against Murray State.
  • This Govs team needs to connect from three-point range just 35 more times to match the single-season team three-point record (241 in 2018-19).
  • Maggie Knowles is shooting 45.1 percent from three-point range this season, which leads the OVC and ranks 9th in the NCAA. She currently is the Austin Peay career three-point percentage leader, shooting 42.2 percent in her career.

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