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Govs can’t keep pace with Commodores

Robert Smith/APSU Athletics Communications

By Dylan Schwartz

APSU Athletics Communications

NASHVILLE – Austin Peay could not overcome a hot-shooting Vanderbilt team, falling 99-70, Monday, at Memorial Gymnasium.

There were plenty of positives to take from the game for the Governors (1-2). They only committed seven turnovers and held Vanderbilt’s two best players below their season scoring averages. Both Autumn Newby and Chelsie Hall came into the game averaging around 16 points per game, but only had 10 and twelve, respectively. The Govs did especially well against Newby, with Arielle Gonzalez-Varner attacking her early and forcing her into foul trouble.

The Govs got off to a great start throughout the first quarter, hanging with the Commodores (1-2) throughout. Despite coach David Midlick‘s unchanged lineup, the Govs were led by their two freshmen off the bench in the first period, with Kasey Kidwell and Maggie Knowles leading the Govs in scoring. Kidwell hit two threes from the same spot on the floor in three possessions while Knowles cut the early Vandy lead to just one after a beautiful fadeaway hook shot and deep three-pointer on back-to-back possessions. The Govs took the lead, 19-17, with just a couple minutes to go in the first from a Brandi Ferby triple, but the Commodores went on a mini-run to lead by three after the first quarter.

Starting at the end of the first, Vanderbilt’s 6-5 post player Mariella Fasoula, who used her size to consistently create layups, started to take over the game. It looked like the game was teetering on the brink of Vanderbilt pulling away, but a steal by the Govs led to a fastbreak opportunity that was converted by Kidwell to pull the Govs close once again. The Commodores were consistently answering the Govs though, sometimes getting a few easy buckets in transition. Despite Fasoula’s 16 points in the first half, the Govs were still in striking distance, only down seven, 42-35, at the half.

Although the first half was very promising for the Govs, the Commodores came out and dominated the third period, starting on a 14-1 run to stretch the lead to 20 points. After the Govs came out and shot better than 50 percent from the field in the first quarter, they could not sustain the effort, with their second and third quarter shooting percentages each below 30. The Govs made a couple shots to try and whittle down the Vandy lead, but Fasoula was still causing problems, as evident by her final line of 25 points and nine boards.

The Govs had a good offensive fourth quarter, but unfortunately, Commodore guard Cierra Walker caught fire, scoring 11 points and hitting three triples in the fourth quarter alone to end any thought of a comeback. Free throw shooting also really hurt the Govs, as they only shot 7-for-17 from the stripe.

The Govs have a quick turnaround, hosting Trevecca, 7 p.m., Wednesday. The game was originally scheduled for Thursday, but was moved to the day before due to APSU hosting the Ohio Valley Conference Volleyball Tournament.

Notably

  • Gonzalez-Varner hit her first career three-pointer
  • Gonzalez-Varner and Keisha Gregory led the team in rebounding
  • Kasey Kidwell and Maggie Knowles each set their career highs in points
  • The Govs lost the rebounding battle for the first time this season
  • The Govs only committed seven turnovers, a season-low
  • The Govs are just 2-17 against the Commodores all-time
  • The Govs led the Commodores in second chance and bench points

Midlick’s Musings

“I felt pretty good going in to halftime, but 42 points given up was a little concerning. We wanted to make a few adjustments and continue to do what we were doing. We just did not have a good third period. I thought we did not have a lot of energy coming out and got beat down the floor in transition. We didn’t box out and do a lot of things we practice on every day. The third quarter just really hurt us tonight.”