TN Sports 360

Ferby, Kirby combine for 50 in Govs’ opener

APSU Athletics Communications

By Casey Crigger

APSU Athletics Communications

FLORENCE, Ala. – With 26 points from Brianah Ferby and a career-high 24 points from Shay-Lee Kirby, Austin Peay went on the road and caged the North Alabama Lions, 88-78, in the season opener at Flowers Hall, Wednesday.  

Brandi Febry got the scoring started for the Govs, taking a defensive rebound and going the length of the court, before using a behind-the-back move to get to the rim and score. On the next trip down the floor, Brandi Ferby found her twin sister Brianah Ferby for a layup and a 4-0 lead.

With 3:55 left in the first quarter and the Govs leading by one, Myah LeFlore found a wide-open Kirby, who knocked down a triple her first three points of the season. The sophomore from Vienna, West Virginia, scored the next five points for the Govs, going on an 8-2 run all by herself to stretch the lead to seven.  

With less than a minute left in the opening quarter, North Alabama’s Alexis Callins knocked down a triple to cut the Govs lead to four. However, LeFlore drew a foul with three second on the clock and knocked down a pair of free throws, ending the quarter and stretching the Governors advantage to six.

After trading buckets to start the second quarter, Kirby pulled down a defensive rebound, before going coast-to-coast to get the hoop and harm. Kirby converted the old-fashioned three-point play, giving the Governors an eight-point lead – their biggest of the first half.

After going back-and-forth for the next five minutes, the Lions cut the Austin Peay lead to one. With the clock winding down, North Alabama’s Olivia Knight knocked down a three pointer at the buzzer to give the Lions a two-point advantage – their biggest of the game so far.

Trailing by two to start the second half, Brandi Ferby connected from downtown to give the Govs a lead that they would not relinquish for the rest of the contest.

With 7:49 remaining in the quarter, Brianah Ferby knocked down a jumper to kickstart a Governors run that saw Kelen Kenol pour in four points. Brianah Ferby capped off the 10-0 run, driving to the rim and converting a fastbreak layup to give Austin Peay its first double-digit lead of the day.

After North Alabama trimmed the lead to seven, the Governors closed the third quarter on a 5-0 run, with Nina De Leon Negron hitting a layup and Kirby drilling her fifth three pointer of the contest. Kirby’s triple to end the quarter gave her a career-high 22 points, surpassing the mark she set in last season’s opener against Kentucky Wesleyan.

Jaida Bond knocked down a three pointer to start the final quarter for North Alabama, but layups from Kirby and Maggie Knowles on back-to-back possessions took the Governors lead back to 13 points. However, North Alabama went on a 5-0 run to cut the lead to just seven with 6:14 left to play.

But that was as close as the Lions would get, as Brianah Ferby drilled a contested three in the corner to start a 7-0 run for the Govs. Austin Peay stretched the lead to as much as 14 in the final four minutes of action, and the Governors cruised to a 10-point victory in the season opener.

The Difference

Brianah Ferby and Shay-Lee Kirby. With only nine players available, Ferby and Kirby stepped up and poured in 26 and 24 points, respectively. The duo combined to knock down nine of Austin Peay’s 10 three pointers in the contest.

Notably

  • With today’s win, Austin Peay has won back-to-back season openers for the first time since the 1995 and 1996 seasons.
  • The Governors snapped a 33-year, 14-game losing streak, winning their first season-opening game on the road since Nov. 28, 1987.
  • Austin Peay picked up its first ever win against North Alabama, but still trails in the all-time series 2-1.
  • Shay-Lee Kirby scored a career-high 24 points, it was her second-straight season opener scoring 20+ points.
  • Brianah Ferby lead the Govs with 26 points, it was the fourth 20-point performance of her career and the 12th time she has lead the team in scoring.
  • Brianah Ferby and Shay-Lee Kirby became the first Govs duo to score 20+ points since Tahanee Bennell and Kirby scored 21 a piece in last season’s opener against Kentucky Wesleyan (11/5/19).
  • Brandi Ferby dished out a team-high six assists, leading the Governors in helpers for the 11th time in her career.
  • Making her first career start, Myah LeFlore pulled down a career-high five rebounds.
  • Freshman Nina De Leon Negron lead the Governors with eight rebounds, including five on the offensive end, in her Austin Peay debut.
  • Kirby blocked a pair of shots, a new career-high.
  • The Govs shot 47 percent from the floor against North Alabama, last season Austin Peay was 8-0 when they shot better than 45 percent from the floor.

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