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Austin Peay makes it three straight, wins by 17

Robert Smith/Tnsports360.com

By Casey Crigger

APSU Athletics Communications

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – For the second time this season, Austin Peay led wire-to-wire in an Education Day game; with six players scoring in double-figures, the Governors rolled to a 79-62 win over SIU Edwardsville, Thursday at the Vadalabene Center, as the Govs posted their third-straight win in Ohio Valley Conference play.

The early tip did not seem to be a problem for Austin Peay (16-10, 7-8), who came out red-hot in another Education Day game. After controlling the opening tip, Ella Sawyer found a wide-open Maggie Knowles in the corner, who drilled a three-pointer to give the Govs a lead that they would not relinquish for the next 40 minutes.

After a three minutes of scoreless basketball, Sawyer got the Govs back on the board with a three-pointer of her own. With 6:33 left in the first quarter, SIU Edwardsville (3-23, 1-14) finally got on the scoreboard, but the Governors answered the Cougars with their third-straight three-pointer, this one coming from Brianah Ferby.

With 5:23 left, D’Shara Booker scored on three-straight possessions for the Govs to build the first quarter lead to 10 points for the first time. But a 6-0 run from the Cougars cut the Govs 10-point advantage to just four, before another triple from Knowles ended SIUE’s biggest run of the first half. With 33 seconds left in the quarter, Knowles connected on her third triple of the day to give the Govs a five-point advantage at the end of the first frame.  

Booker kicked off the second quarter for the Govs, scoring two of her 10 first half points on a turnaround jumper. With 6:52 left in the quarter, Arielle Gonzalez-Varner pulled down an offensive rebound, and hit a layup to give the Govs an 11-point lead – their biggest of the day so far.

After a steal by Gonzalez-Varner on the other end, Brandi Ferby found Shay-Lee Kirby on the wing, where she knocked down one of the Governors six first-half triples to extend the lead to 14. With 2:08 left before the half, the Governors built their biggest lead of the first half when Gonzalez-Varner jumped a passing lane and went coast-to-coast for a layup to put the Govs up 19.

But the Cougars closed out the half with four points to trim the Governors advantage to 15 at the break.

The third quarter was the closest of the day, with the Govs and Cougars going back-and-fourth for ten minutes. An Allie Troeckler layup with 1:24 brought the Cougars within a dozen points of the Govs, but a pair of layups, the first of which gave Brandi Ferby ten points in the contest, closed out the quarter and pushed the Govs lead back to 16 points.  

Less than a minute into the fourth quarter, a three-pointer from Kirby made her the made her the third Governor in double-figures and pushed the lead to over 20 for the first time in the contest. Following another SIUE bucket from Troeckler, Sawyer became the fourth Gov in double-figures, connecting on a jumper from the elbow to give her 11 points in the contest.

On the Govs next offensive possession, Gonzalez-Varner pulled down an offensive board, kicked to Brandi Ferby, who then got it back to Gonzalez-Varner for a layup to become the fifth Governor in double-figures.

With 5:46 left in the game, Knowles became the sixth Gov to score in double-figures, drilling her fourth three-pointer of the day after Brianah Ferby grabbed an offensive rebound to keep the possession alive.  With 3:51 left in the contest, Sawyer’s five assist of the day found Kasey Kidwell for a three-pointer, stretching the Govs lead to 24 – the biggest of the game.

SIUE outscored Austin Peay 11-4 over the final 3:50 of the game; but it was too little, too late for the Cougars, as the Governors extended their winning streak to three games for the first time in OVC play this season.

The Difference

It’s been the difference all season long for Austin Peay – forced turnovers and points scored off of them. The Governors forced SIUE to turn the ball over 24 times, and scored 27 points off of those turnovers; while the Cougars could only muster 13 points off of 18 Austin Peay turnovers. The Governors improved to 15-5 this season when they score more points off of turnovers than their opponent.

Notably

  • Austin Peay improved to 7-14 all-time versus SIUE, with the Govs sweeping the regular-season series for the first time in program history.
  • The Governors picked up their first win in the Vadalabene Center since Jan. 20, 2014.
  • The Govs improved their winning streak against SIUE to three games, the longest in program history against the Cougars.
  • For the first time since Jan. 2, 2019, six Govs scored in double-figures in a single game: Maggie Knowles (12), Ella Sawyer (11), D’Shara Booker (10), Arielle Gonzalez-Varner (10), Brandi Ferby (10), and Shay-Lee Kirby (10).
  • The Governors had two freshmen, one redshirt-freshmen, one sophomore, one junior, and one senior in double-figures.
  • Shooting 45.6 percent from the floor in the contest, Austin Peay improved to 7-0 this season when they shoot upwards of 45 percent.
  • The Govs dished out 21 assists against SIUE, which is their second-best single game total this season, behind only the 25 assist effort in the season-opener against Kentucky Wesleyan, Nov. 5.
  • The Governors improved to 16-5 this season when they commit fewer turnovers than their opponent.
  • By outscoring SIUE 17-8 in second-chance points, the Govs improved to 10-5 when they win the second-chance points battle.
  • Out-rebounding SIUE 33-32, the Governors improved to 9-1 this season when they win the battle on the glass.
  • The Govs bench scored 29 points, marking the 16th time this season that the reserves have scored at least 25-points in a contest.
  • Austin Peay is now 15-5 this season when they score more points off of turnovers than the opposition.
  • The Governors knocked down 11 three-pointers in the contest, marking the 10th time this season they have connected double-digit times from three-point range.
  • Brandi Ferby dished out a season-high six assists.
  • Shay-Lee Kirby pulled down a career-high six rebounds and dished out a career-high three assists.

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