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Govs working on communication with opener nearing

Jimmy Trodglen/

By Riley Grubbs

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn.- Austin Peay continues to prepare for its season-opener at Cincinnati next Tuesday, with an emphasis still be placed on communication.

During Tuesday’s practice, the early growing pains of a new season were apparent with effort and communication a priority.

“It’s improved, but it’s a work in progress.” Govs coach David Midlick said. “You can control how hard you play and how much you talk, and we have got to get all of our ladies to realize that.”

Another key coaching point in practice was the team’s intensity. Multiple times, the effort of both the red and white teams were called into question.

“We are a team that needs to be self-motivated.” Govs forward Arielle Gonzalez Varner said. “When coach tries to rev us up, we usually respond well to that.

“The white team had a good day, which is not the team that I was on. I think they did a really good job of transferring the energy from the beginning of practice to the second half of practice.”

During five-on-five scrimmages near the end of practice, both teams amplified their intensity.

“They like to play live, and it was good for them to get to go at each other a little bit.” Midlick said. “We’ve got to be able to set good screens on the offensive end. When we play good teams, they are going to try and get open and we have to be able to get through screens.”

Defensively, the Govs’ full-court press has been a focal point since practice began.

During five-on-five scrimmage, Midlick said the Govs will not be able to play full-court press effectively until they can guard their opponent in half-court sets.

“We have got to be able to take a stand from the 3-point line in,” Midlick said.  “We can’t have the same kind of gamble and press mentality when you are in the half court. You have to be solid and move your feet and stay in front of people.”

Both defenses responded by generating multiple turnovers in transition.

“Our team is extremely quick, like we will be extremely quicker foot-speed wise than 90 percent of the teams we play.” Gonzalez-Varner said.

“We’re still going to press, and we are still going to put pressure on the offense, but he (Midlick) wants us to be able to keep people in front of us at all times.”

Riley Grubbs is an intern with Comments can be directed to